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The National Economic and Social Council (NESC) during its 17th Council meeting held on May 29-30th 2009, recommended the adoption of a cluster development strategy as part of regional and national competitiveness strategies. Accordingly, priority sectors were identified for the initial implementation of the cluster strategy. These are: transport and logistics at the Port of Mombasa, horticulture, sugar, tea, tourism, marine and inland fisheries, livestock, energy, ICT, maize, cotton and dairy. The Vision 2030 advocates for regional manufacturing and industrial clusters as engines for realizing industrialization. The fourth component of Kenya Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS) also aims at improving the productivity and competitiveness of enterprises.

Definitions as to what exactly constitutes a cluster vary. However, the concept of ‘cluster’ generally refers to a geographical concentration of vertical or horizontally linked firms engaged in related lines of business together with supporting organizations. The cluster framework offers firms the opportunity to access knowledge, reduce research and development costs, achieve economies of scale, cluster skills and a qualified labour force, solve common problems and reduce costs due to geographical proximity and increased interaction with each other. Cluster policies and initiatives thus continue to proliferate in many countries in Asia, Latin America, Europe and the USA.

KIPPRA was contracted to provide cluster analysis for Kenya, with support from ECORYS Netherlands. ECORYS provided backstopping support through KEPLOTRADE II. The final report has mapped out the priority sectors defined by the NESC into 20 clusters. The focus is on the most important clusters based on performance, spatial concentration of economic activities, network data and parallel government policy. The overall objective of the study is to come up with practical, grass-roots solutions to the challenges Kenya faces with respect to productivity & competitiveness in the mapped clusters and then to draft Participatory Action Plans that provide blueprints for development.

The study utilized the criteria specified in the Terms of Reference and close consultations with Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS) Goal 4 Steering Committee, NESC Secretariat and Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat (VDS) to select six clusters for development of participatory action plans. The selected clusters are Transport and Logistics at Port of Mombasa; Coast Beach Tourism; Inland Fisheries in Kisumu; ICT in Nairobi; Beef in Garissa; and Horticulture in Naivasha-Limuru. The participatory action plans identify the specific cluster policy objectives based on field survey, literature and a consultative workshop held for each selected cluster. The required actions have thus been identified, together with key responsibilities and indicators for monitoring performance.

Further information can be obtained from the Head, Macroeconomics Division, Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis

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