Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP)

Conducting Second Full- Annual Performance assessment of 45 Eligible County Governments and 59 Municipalities (Excluding Nairobi and Mombasa)

Project Details

CLIENT: Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development – State Department of Housing and Urban Development


DURATION: 2018-2019


Vision 2030 recognized the need for sustainable urban governance and development as part of the overall Kenya’s integrated development agenda and a key factor for socio-economic development of Kenya and achieving the target of becoming a middle income country. Within the over-arching framework of Vision 2030, the urbanization component of the Third Medium Term Plan (MTP2) 2018–22 aimed at facilitating a sustainable urbanization process through an integrated urban and regional planning management framework of Kenyan urban areas and towns. Aligned to that goal, the MTP identified a series of investment programs to enhance infrastructure, connectivity, accessibility, safety and security.

Kenyan urban centers have not been able to meet the rapidly growing demands for infrastructure and services due to weak urban governance management and limited investment. Rapid urbanization has left Kenyan urban areas with huge unmet demand for critical infrastructure and basic services, which has constrained the productivity of businesses and negatively impacted the quality of life of residents.

The 2010 constitution provided for two autonomous but interdependent levels of government: the national Government and 47 County governments. Under the constitution, County governments have been assigned the responsibility for the delivery of many basic services.  The institutional arrangements in the context of devolution are still evolving, including structures and mechanisms for intergovernmental cooperation and transfer of resources to deliver on policy priorities. However, the framework for management of urban areas has been very weak in the initial arrangement under devolution.

The Urban Areas and Cities Act (UACA) (2011, amended in 2016) partially addresses this urban governance deficit, by providing procedures for chartering cities and municipalities and establishing urban boards. Such urban boards, appointed by County governments, have delegated responsibilities for the management of cities and municipalities and remain accountable to their respective County governments.

In addition to the formal urban governance institutions, providing urban infrastructure and services require adequate levels of financing, which is currently short of meeting the demands.  This in turn depend on counties’ effectiveness in mobilizing revenues and their willingness to allocate resources for urban infrastructure and services.

Acknowledging that there are limited capacities for counties to address urban development challenges and no dedicated institutions for urban management, the Government of Kenya with the assistance of the World Bank developed the Kenya Urban Support Program (KUSP) to support the establishment and strengthening of urban institutions and systems to deliver improved infrastructure and services. KUSP is part of a wider Kenya Urban Program (KenUP). Under this programme, KUSP seeks to support the implementation of the Kenya Urban Programme (KenUP), which is the Kenya government’s development strategy emanating from and giving life to the Kenyan National Urban Development Policy (NUDP). The latter was approved by a special cabinet committee in October 2016, and presented to parliamentary and senator committees in February and March 2017.

The KUSP is aimed at establishing and strengthening the urban institutions to deliver improved infrastructure and services in participating counties in Kenya.  This is being done through the provision of capacity building and institutional support to 47 counties; however, direct financial support is provided to 45 counties (other than the city counties of Nairobi and Mombasa), and to 59 potentially eligible urban areas within those counties.  The primary beneficiaries of the KUSP are the 5.6 million residents of the 59 urban centers, half of whom are female. The ultimate goal of KUSP is to contribute to ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity by delivering improved urban infrastructure on an inclusive basis and in ways that enhance economic growth and development in participating counties.

The programme offers grants to national government entities, county administrations, and potentially, urban administrations that opt in to the programme and meet agreed minimum conditions and performance measures.  Specifically, the programme:

  1. Support national government entities — to implement the National Urban Development Policy (NUDP), provide capacity building support to national-level entities and to county administrations, and to manage annual county-level performance assessments; Window 1.
  2. Support county government administrations — to develop and implement county-level urban development policies and integrated strategic plans, establish urban management systems, develop legislation and regulations to better manage urban areas, help to build the capacity of urban administrations, and implement and enforce county policies and legislation; Window 2. The Urban Institutional Grant (UIG) for counties is done through this window.
  3. Support urban administrations — through their counties—for the development of urban plans, systems, and the delivery of urban infrastructure and services; Window 3. The Urban Development Grant (UDG) for establishment of physical investments and provision of basic services at the urban board level is done through this window.


Towards meeting the objectives of the KUSP programme, the Ministry of Transport Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works (State Department for Housing and Urban Development) contracted Alpex Consulting Africa Ltd (ACAL) to undertake the Second Full Annual Performance Assessment of the 45 county governments in terms of meeting the minimum conditions and performance standards applicable to eligibility for support under KUSP.

Specifically, the consultancy aimed at assessing the performance of eligible counties and urban areas with respect to:

  1. the Minimum Conditions applicable to UIGs. Counties that demonstrate compliance with these Minimum Conditions will qualify for their UIG allocations in FY 2019-20; and
  2. the Minimum Conditions applicable to UDGs. Counties and their urban areas that demonstrate compliance with these Minimum Conditions will qualify for 50% of their UDG allocations in FY 2019-20.
  3. the Performance Standards applicable to UDGs. Counties and their urban areas that demonstrate compliance with these Performance Standards will qualify for additional percentages of the indicative (maximum) UDG allocation as a function of the degree to which it is able to meet Performance Standards. For each of the Performance Standards, five (5) points are gained, when each standard is complied with. Otherwise, the score is zero. The total maximum score adds up to 50 points, whereby 50 points gives full access to the performance based second 50 percent of the UDG.


We assessed the performance of eligible counties with respect to the Minimum Conditions applicable to Urban Institutional Grants. All Counties that demonstrated compliance with the Minimum Conditions qualified for their Urban Institutional Grants (UIG) allocations in FY 2019-20. In addition, the we assessed the Minimum Conditions applicable to Urban Development Grants (UDGs). Counties and their urban areas that demonstrated compliance with these Minimum Conditions qualified for 50% of their UDG allocations in FY 2019-20. Finally, we assessed the Performance Standards (PSs) applicable to Urban Development Grants (UDGs). Once counties and their urban meets the Minimum Conditions, the urban areas in question then qualifies for additional percentages of the indicative (maximum) UDG allocation as a function of the degree to which they are able to meet Performance Standards.

Our terms of engagement were made very clear from the kick-off meeting whereby we met the KUSP technical team in an inception meeting, it is here where we engaged and got the clearest expectation of the client as we presented our methodology and approach. We further set forth the field engagement protocols, the project management and reporting framework was also agreed at this early stage.

Over and above the program literature and assessment tools provided by the client, ACAL through the expertise assembled was able to come up with very elaborate framework for engagement with the 45 counties that delivered improved capacity on the part County Programme Coordinating Team (CPCT) and high quality output.


The Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP) is aimed at;

  1. Addressing the basic steps as provided for in KenUP, i.e. establishment of urban governance as well as management structures,
  2. Providing eligible and qualifying counties (and their urban institutions) with funding, to and through the county governments, to allow those urban structures to fulfil their mandates.
  3. Providing capacity development support to central government, notably the State Department of     Housing and Urban Development for it to better assist and support the county governments in addressing urban issues in the spirit of the Constitution of Kenya (2010).

Overall, it seeks to emphasise the pivotal role urban areas are supposed to be playing in terms of development, prosperity and modernisation by enabling eligible and qualifying County governments to integrate urban development challenges and opportunities into county-wide development plans and strategies.


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