The last year must rank as one of the most difficult periods Kenya has faced in its post-independence history. It started with the outbreak of violence following the election at the close of 2007. While a political accommodation was reached which pulled the country back from the brink, the damage in social and economic terms was huge. Commodity price escalation exacerbated an already challenging food security position as a result of the impact of the post-election violence on cereals production.
By the end of 2008 the financial crisis which had started in US markets a year earlier had mushroomed into a world-wide economic recession. Reflecting the modest linkages with international financial markets, the immediate impact of the crisis on Kenya was relatively muted. However the longer-term prognosis is decidedly gloomier as the slowdown in critical export markets and a likely reduction in remittance flows starts to bite. Against this challenging backdrop we present our annual report to stakeholders. The progress made over the year in the development of financial inclusion was remarkable. While certainly facing challenges during 2008, many of FSD’s partners made considerable progress. This report seeks to describe the activities in which we’ve been engaged over the year as well as to contribute our perspective on developments. We hope it is interesting and useful to its readers. It is also an important contribution to ensuring that we are accountable for what we do. Accountability is clearly a two-way process and we therefore look forward to receiving feedback on what we present in this report, whether positive or negative.