Little Known Details of Ruth Kagia, Influential State House Staffer

  • Ruth Kagia
    Ruth Kagia, the Deputy Chief of Staff (Policy & Strategy) in the Executive Office of the President of Kenya.
    File
  • Ruth Kagia holds the key position of Deputy Chief of Staff (Policy & Strategy) in the Executive Office of the President of Kenya but many do not know the quite power and influence she holds in government. 

    The position of Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategy and Policy, places her at the centre of formulating and driving the government’s political and socio-economic development programmes.

    Alongside Nancy Gitau, President Uhuru's political advisor, Kanze Dena and Munira Mohammed, who are in charge of communications, Kagia is among a handful of women close to the seat of power at State House.

    Ruth Kagia
    Ruth Kagia, an education and human development expert who is among the senior advisors to President Kenyatta.
    File

    Kagia rarely attracts publicity but allows her work to speak for her at the Office of the President, playing key roles behind the scenes.

    For instance, it is reported that she was part of the team that burnt the midnight oil to close several deals with Cuba, which were headlined by the agreement on health cooperation that saw Kenya recruit 100 doctors to boost service delivery in rural hospitals.

    According to sources, she was also very instrumental in the formulation of the president's Big 4 Agenda.

    Moreover, when President Uhuru gathered high-level delegates in November 2018 to help chart the course of Kenya's economy, she was among the only two women in attendance.  

    Prior to becoming President Uhuru's senior advisor in 2014, Kagia worked at the World Bank for 20 years (1990-2013).

    At the World Bank, she held various positions including Country Director for Southern Africa (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho as well as Mauritius and Madagascar). 

    Kagia also held the position of World Bank Global Director for Education for six years (2002- 2008) where she worked extensively on Millennium Development Goals and led the establishment of the Education for All Fast Track Initiative. 

    Between 2002 and 2008, as World Bank's Global Education Director, she oversaw the coordination of the World Bank Education Global Program with a total active portfolio of Ksh1.1 trillion in 90 countries. 

    Prior to her work at the World Bank, Kagia worked for more than 10 years for the Kenyan government in education, research and management. 

    Kagia holds degrees from the University of Nairobi and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

    Moreover, she holds several professional development qualifications including the Executive Development Program from Harvard University and a Certificate of Education Measurement from Princeton.

    Kagia has written a book titled; Balancing the Development Agenda: The Transformation of the World Bank Under James D. Wolfensohn, 1995- 2005.

    On November 30, 2020, Ruth lost her husband Professor James Kagia who was a highly accomplished Kenyan medical doctor, scholar and university lecturer. 

    Professor Kagia taught community health at the University of Nairobi for many years and previously worked as a medical doctor at John Hopkins and Georgetown University hospitals in the USA.

    "It is unfortunate that we've lost Professor Kagia at a time when the country needs his expertise the most especially in the response to the Covid-19 health crisis which is sweeping across the world," President Uhuru eulogised the accomplished medic.

    A file image of State House Nairobi
    A file image of State House Nairobi
    PSCU