The history of organized statistical activities in Kenya goes back to the 1920’s. The Colonial Government appointed its first Official Statistician in 1925. In 1926, the statistician was assigned to work for the Conference of Governors of the three East African territories of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika and this foreshadowed the creation of the East African Statistical Department (EASD). The EASD was formally established in 1948. The EASD collected, processed and published statistical data for the three territories. The department published, on a regular basis, the East African Economic and Statistical Bulletin. In 1948 the first population census in Kenya was undertaken but the results were published in 1952.
In 1956, the EASD was decentralized into three separate Statistical Units to serve Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika at the territorial level while retaining the EASD to deal with statistical needs common to the three territories. This was the first time that a fully-fledged Statistical Unit was set up in Kenya. The enactment of the Statistics Act on 4th July 1961 fully integrated the Kenya Statistical Unit within the government machinery as the government Statistical Office. The Statistics Unit was formally established as the Economics and Statistics Division of the Treasury.In 1962, the Division undertook the second Population Census in Kenya prior to attainment of Independence.
In 1963, the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development was established and the Division was transferred from the Treasury to the new Ministry. Subsequently, the Division was split into two units that were elevated to departments namely the Planning Department headed by a Chief Economist and the Statistics Department headed by a Chief Statistician. However, Agricultural Statistics Section of the former Economics Planning and Development was physically located in the Ministry of Agriculture, an arrangement which continued up to 1972. During this year, the Statistics Department of the Ministry of Planning and Development was renamed the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and the head of the Department was designated â€œDirectorâ€ instead of Chief Statistician.
CBS expanded its operations in the 1960’s and 1970’s both at the headquarters in Nairobi and at the field level. During this period, it undertook a wide range of data collection activities and kept a healthy publication programme. This impetus continued up to the mid 1980’s when CBS greatly expanded its field survey programme to respond to the need for district-level statistical data following the adoption of the District Focus for Rural Development (DFRD) strategy in 1983. However, a deteriorating trend set in mid 1980’s and continued into the 1990’s. This period was characterized by low level data collection efforts, minimal processing and analysis of collected data and discontinuation of issuance of publications which, in the past, used to be regular features of CBS activities. The factors responsible for the downward trend include inadequate budgetary allocation as a result of reduction in government expenditure and inadequate number of professional staff particularly at senior levels.
It was therefore axiomatic that effective measures were needed to reverse this negative trend and to prepare CBS for the challenge of the 21st century. To this end, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) was established by the Statistics Act of 2006 to replace CBS. The Act establishes KNBS as a Semi-Autonomous Government Agency incorporated under the Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030. Its core mandate is collection, compilation, analysis, publication and dissemination of statistical information for public use, with an additional role of coordinating, monitoring and supervising the National Statistical System (NSS).
(1) The Bureau shall be the principal agency of the Government for collecting, analysing and disseminating statistical data in Kenya and shall be the custodian of official statistical information.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Bureau shall be responsible for—
(a) planning, authorising, co-ordinating and supervising all official statistical programmes undertaken within the national statistical system;
(b) establishing standards and ensuring the use of best practices and methods in the production and dissemination of statistical information across the national statistical system;
(c) collecting, compiling, analyzing, abstracting and disseminating statistical information on the matters specified in the First Schedule;
(d) conducting the Population and Housing Census every ten years, and such other censuses and surveys as the Board may determine;
(e) maintaining a comprehensive and reliable national socio-economic database.
(f) developing and maintaining sampling frames of the Bureau;
(g) collaborating with and assisting the county governments or any other institutions in the production of official statistics;
(h) providing technical advice on statistics to other state entities;
(i) promoting co-ordination among producers, users and suppliers of official statistics by forming appropriate sector committees; and
(j) designating statistics produced by national statistical system as official statistics on being satisfied that the necessary criteria have been followed.
Download Statistics Act 2006: Statistics Act 4 of 2006 (Revised Edition 2019)
he Functions of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) are important in understanding its existence. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) is a Semi-Autonomous Government Agency incorporated under the State Department for Planning.
The core mandate of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) is collection, compilation, analysis, publication and dissemination of statistical information for public use. The additional role of KNBS is coordinating, monitoring and supervising the National Statistical System (NSS).
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) was established by the Statistics Act of 2006 to replace its predecessor, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).
The Bureau is a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and shall, in its corporate name, be capable of—
- suing and being sued;
- taking, purchasing or otherwise acquiring, holding, charging or
- disposing of movable and immovable property;
- borrowing or lending money; and
- doing or performing all other things or acts for the furtherance of the provisions of KNBS Act which may be lawfully done or performed by a body corporate.
Functions Of The Kenya National Bureau Of Statistics (KNBS)
Section 4 of the Statistics Act says the Bureau should be the principal agency of the Government for collecting, analysing and disseminating statistical data in Kenya and shall be the custodian of official statistical information.
The functions of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) are related to—
- planning, authorising, coordinating and supervising all official statistical programmes undertaken within the national statistical system;
- establishing standards and promoting the use of best practices and methods in the production and dissemination of statistical information across the national statistical system;
- collecting, compiling, analysing, abstracting and disseminating statistical information on the matters specified in the First Schedule;
- conducting the Population and Housing Census every ten years, and such other censuses and surveys as the Board may determine; and
- maintaining a comprehensive and reliable national socio-economic database.
Establishment And Composition Of The Board
The management of the Bureau should vest in a Board of Directors which consists of—
- a Chairman appointed by the President;
- the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for the time being responsible for Statistics;
- the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry responsible for Finance; and
- five other members appointed by the Minister (responsible for matters relating to Statistics) to represent the bodies for the time being recognized by the Government as representing—
- the private sector;
- the non-Governmental organizations;
- research institutions;
- the public universities; and
- the National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development.
Every appointment to the Board should be by name and by notice in the Gazette and shall be for a renewable period of three years.
Functions Of The Board
The functions of the Board are to—
- formulate and monitor the implementation of policies pertaining to the Bureau;
- determine from time to time, the structure and staffing levels of the Bureau;
- recruit suitable staff for the Bureau upon such terms and conditions as it may determine;
- promote professionalism and discipline among the staff of the Bureau by facilitating professional training;
- approve the Bureau’s corporate plan, annual work programmes and annual budgets; and
- submit to the Minister a quarterly report on the activities of the Bureau.
The Board may collaborate with such other bodies within or outside Kenya as it may consider desirable or appropriate in furtherance of the purpose for which the Bureau is established.
For more about the Functions of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) check out the Statistics Act(opens in a new tab) and its website at knbs.or.ke.