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.