According to the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Kenya is Eastern Africa’s most vulnerable country to political and social upheaval that is expected to arise from a long drawn-out global recession.  The index measures vulnerability on a scale of zero (no vulnerability) to 10 (highest vulnerability). Kenya, with a political instability index of 7.5, is ranked the 19th most vulnerable country, far ahead of neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania, which are ranked 63 and 88 respectively.  South Africa, with an instability index of seven, is the 38th most vulnerable State, while Nigeria is 43rd.  The ranking is based on 15 key indicators based on what the report refers to as “underlying” and “economic distress” indices.  Somalia and Western Sahara, two African countries that have no functional governments are considered failed states and are not rated in the survey.

According to the report, “a stalled constitutional review process, rampant corruption in government and a general breakdown in the rule of law has deepened Kenya’s exposure to social and political tension putting at risk the stability of the coalition government.  The Business Daily further notes that Kenya’s business leaders endorsed the report as a “realistic reflection of the danger that the country faces in wake of incessant political bickering that has dominated the national agenda in the last one year” as economic welfare declined.  “2008’s post poll chaos sent a clear signal that the level of political risk in Kenya is higher than has been indicated. We finally realised that it is possible to descend into the chaos that have over the years dogged neighbouring states with disastrous economic results,” noted Dr. X N Iraki, a strategic management lecturer at the University of Nairobi.

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