Kenya has a history of strategic planning for statistical development. The first five-year Statistical Plan for the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), then a government department in the then Ministry of Planning and National Development, covered the period 2003-2007. This plan was instrumental in the transformation of the CBS into a semi-autonomous Government Agency, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), by an Act of Parliament (the Statistics Act No.4 of 2006). KNBS core mandate is outlined under the said Act that empowers the organization to be the principal agency of the government for collecting, analyzing and disseminating official statistical data in Kenya. The Act further empowers KNBS to be the custodian of official statistical information, establish standards and also promote the use of best practices and methods in the production and dissemination of statistical information across the National Statistical System (NSS).

The second plan covering the period 2008-2012 was based on a comprehensive review of the previous Strategic Plan and lessons learnt. The process of designing the third plan, called the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) has started. While the first two plans focused on the Bureau, the third plan will cover sectors (government ministries, departments and agencies –MDAs, with KNBS and Counties as special sectors). International “best practice” requires that NSDS design process should follow a sectoral (or bottom-up) approach whereby a Strategic Plan for Statistics (SPS) is designed for each sector and the SPSs are used as building blocks for the overall NSDS (see figure below). This approach leads to enhanced coordination of the National Statistical System. It is fortuitous that the design of the NSDS has coincided with the design of Strategic Plans for MDAs and Counties. This coincidence creates a good opportunity for inter-linkage between Sector Plans for Statistics and Strategic Plans for MDAs.

The design of the NSDS also takes place at a time when a new Constitution has come into force. The Constitution places a lot of emphasis on accountability which calls for evidence-based policy, planning, decision-making, monitoring and evaluation at the centre and in the counties, and hence the need for comprehensive and quality data.