Kenya has the largest and most diversified economy in East Africa. As regional hub for trade and finance, Kenya plays an important role in East Africa's regional development. However, inequality is high and an estimated 34-42% of Kenyans is still poor. Poverty has probably declined only slowly over the last decade. Governance and uneven commitment to reform have hampered faster economic growth and equitable social development. High levels of corruption and impunity remain a concern. Social disparities are vast and reflect differences in economic development opportunities compounded by inequality in access to social services. Poverty reduction can only be achieved by sustained pro-poor economic growth which addresses job creation and equitable income, improved access to social services, human rights, and political participation. The new constitution adopted in 2010 offers important development opportunities for the country, including the devolution of power from central level to newly created counties, in order to bring services and governance closer to the people.
Kenya’s development strategy is built on four pillars aiming to strengthen economic growth, to develop physical infrastructure, to improve governance and to invest in human capital. The EC response to the economic development and poverty reduction challenges in Kenya is designed to assist in sectors considered key for the future development of the country. The EC’s co-operation strategy with Kenya under the 10th EDF, presented in the Country Strategy Paper for Kenya (2008-2013) , focuses on regional economic integration by means of transport infrastructure as well as agriculture and rural development to enhance the ability of poor rural households to raise their incomes. Additional support will enhance capacity building for public policy institutions, improving governance and strengthening non-state actors as well as creating a favourable climate to support private sector development and export-led growth.
The multi-annual indicative programme for Kenya under the 10th EDF amounts to €391 million to address these priorities.
EU interventions in Kenya also take account of cross-cutting issues, in particular democracy, good governance and human rights; gender equality and equity; environmental sustainability and climate change; the fight against HIV/AIDS; and conflict management and peace-building.
The Country Strategy Paper for Kenya (2002-2007) under the 9th EDF focussed on co-operation activities in the sectors agriculture and rural development as well as roads and transport.
The EU-funded Community Development Programme as well as the Rural Poverty Reduction and Local Government Support programme supported sectors including education, water and sanitation, health, economic infrastructure and integrated programmes targeting the poorest and most vulnerable communities in Kenya.
In addition EU cooperation contributes to strengthening the economic sector through assistance to micro- and small enterprises and will promote active participation of Civil Society and economic partners on governance issues through the NSA-NET programme.
For further details on projects and programmes in Kenya funded from the European Development Fund (EDF) and the general budget of the EU, please visit the website of the Delegation of the European Union to Kenya.
Other sources of information
More information on EU relations with Kenya is available on the pages of the Delegation of the European Union to Kenya.