Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Public Finance Kenya
James is an accountant by training and has over 15 years’ experience working in the non-profit sector focusing on youth and governance. He is the CEO/Founder of the Institute of Public Finance Kenya (IPFK) and currently the lead consultant for Open Budget Survey (OBS) Kenya, which is the world’s only independent, comparable measure of budget transparency, participation, and oversight.
As an active public finance practitioner, James has developed great interest in deepening his technical understanding and developing subject matter expertise in public finance and inequalities which has seen him engage more with subnational governments, citizens and organised interest groups on working around equity and fairness in revenue allocation.
As part of the Institute’s technical team, James supports women and people living with disabilities in organised groups to strongly engage with the government in making key decisions and prioritising allocations of public expenditure during the budget process.
I believe that public finance holds growing relevance to Kenya because of a new constitution that has seen devolution of public management and public resources to 47 sub-national governments. As a practitioner and a team leader at the Institute of Public Finance, Kenya, I have seen both the opportunities and challenges of public finance management in addressing inequalities as most of the newly formed counties struggle with planning and management of devolved resources, and on the other hand citizens being unsure on how to mobilise their collective voice in determining public value priorities. More than 50 years after Kenya gained independence, levels of inequalities continue to increase despite a rise in overall national government spending.
AFSEE is the type of exposure that will provide me with an opportunity to learn from diverse experiences, interact with the best brains across the world under the tutorship of world-class experts in the field of inequalities as I bring my personal and professional experiences to enrich the shared learning. Further, as Kenya progresses towards Vision 2030, (the development blue print for the nation) there will be a need to strongly address the inequality questions and this will require a mix of skills and expertise to be infused with overall thinking in government and private sector. I believe that AFSEE puts me on that path.