Through solid economic performance, Kenya has become a low-middle income country and plays an important role in the economic development of East Africa. Of course, challenges remain, as an estimated 34-42% of Kenyans are still poor. As Kenya's most important development partner, EU support focuses on making progress more inclusive and equitable.

The European Union spends about 100 million euros per year on Development Cooperation that directly benefits Kenya, mainly funded from the European Development Fund.

The cycle of 2014-2020 amounts to €435 million. It focuses on the hard backbone of economic development: sustainable infrastructure, transport and energy; it helps the country to gain more food security and become more resilient to climate shocks, especially in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands; and it works on increasing the accountability of public institutions, with the aim of assisting the process of devolving responsibilities to the Counties, in line with the constitution of 2010.

Under the previous cycle of funding from 2008-2013, the EU dedicated €383 million to programmes in Kenya. It focused on transport infrastructure, in order to stimulate regional economic integration; it targeted agricultural and rural development, so as to enhance the ability of poor rural households to raise their incomes. Two particular projects with a combined budget of €126 million, the Kenya Rural Development Programme and the SHARE project, have been supporting resilience in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands, including strengthening Drought preparedness; it also addressed devolution to Counties and promoting coordination among all actors, including Government entities and donors.

Additional support to Kenya is channelled through other EU initiatives, in particular democracy, good governance and human rights; gender equality and equity; environmental sustainability; fight against HIV/AIDS; mother and child health, and conflict management and peace-building.

Furthermore, Kenya is a beneficiary of actions under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. This support could build on the country's efforts to address instability, supporting protracted refugees situations and host communities, through creating economic opportunities, strengthening and building institutions, and promoting rule of law and social cohesion.


Key country statistics

  • Total population (2015): 46 050 000

  • Life expectancy (at birth) (2015): 59 years (male), 62 years (female)

  • Human Development Index - Low human development (2014): 0.548

  • Population living below $1.90 a day (2005): 33.6%

  • Income share held by lowest 40% of income distribution (2005): 13.3%

  • Lower middle income country - Gross National Income per capita (2014): 655 US$ (constant 2005 US$)

  • Average Gross Domestic Product growth over 5 years (2010-2014): 6.0%

Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015

Water and Sanitation

  • Between 2010 and 2015 the percentage of people in 54 rural communities in Matungula and Masinga in Machakos county with access to an improved water source through pipeline extensions, spring protection, shallow well development and boreholes increased from 31% to 47%. The establishment and strengthening of water resources user associations and the reinforcement of the local government authorities in water testing helped to ensure sustainability of the population's access to water

Agriculture and Food Security

  • 22 000 hectares of farmland have come under "push-pull" farming systems, which is a conservation agriculture approach for smallholder cereal livestock production in drier areas to withstand climate change

  • 43 000 farmers (26 000 women and 17 000 men) conserved biodiversity by cultivating traditional or local varieties of cereals in push-pull farming systems -


    5 tons of seed and other planting materials have been produced and distributed

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