In response to your article of September 9, 2020, on the report by the European Court of Auditors, the EU’s independent external auditor, which has a similar role and mandate to the Kenyan Office of the Auditor General, allow me to outline the following clarifications:
The EU considers that its support to Kenya is based on the country’s specific needs and priorities and equally has been directed towards the EU’s global objective to reduce poverty, in line with the priorities of the EU’s Agenda for Change.
The EU has selected the sectors that received EU funding between 2014-2020 in partnership with the Government of Kenya, based on a sound analysis of the Kenya National Development Plan (Vision 2030), mindful of the existing strengths of EU cooperation and EU Member States’ own plans.
The relevance of agriculture, food security, and climate resilience for poverty reduction in Africa, and notably in Kenya where Agriculture is still the biggest contributor to GDP, to exports and to employment, was demonstrated by several studies over many years: this formed the basis of the EU’s efforts from 2008 onwards, resulting in a sizeable allocation dedicated to these sectors.
In 2018, taking into account Kenya’s new development plan (the Big Four agenda), the first priority sector was refocused to “Job Creation and Resilience”, precisely to address the issues of job creation for youth in Kenya, with support to the agro-industry and agro-processing.
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The EU applies a results based approach in all its programmes. Here some selected results:
- On sustainable infrastructure and transport, key deliverables included the rehabilitation of the Eldoret-Malaba road (120km, Northern Corridor) and the construction of Merille River - Marsabit road (120km, Cape Town-Cairo Corridor). These two initiatives were recently concluded and contributed to improved connectivity, trade and economic integration in the region.
- On energy, the EU contributed to the construction of the largest wind farm in Sub-Saharan Africa (Lake Turkana Wind project) increasing by 21% the renewable energy production capacities of the country.
- On agriculture, innovative approaches for cereal enhancement and conservation agriculture were put in place, benefiting 168,000 smallholder farmers. In addition, the capacities of Kenyan institutions to prevent and respond to droughts were strengthened, and the EU contributed to the successful containment of a locust invasion from 30 afflicted counties down to two.
Furthermore, in response to strengthening agricultural value chains and jobs, notably for youth in agriculture, two flagship programmes have been put in place: AGRIFI, EUR45M and AGRIBIZ, EUR 43.5.
In other words, through its dialogue and cooperation the EU has contributed to Kenya’s economic and social progress in the past decade, and the European Court of Auditors acknowledges that the EU’s projects have largely achieved their objectives.
Going forward, in line with the Court’s recommendations, since this year an enhanced performance based approach has been introduced in the EU’s new budget support programme (EUR26M). Efforts to support the public finance reform strategy have been linked to concrete deliverables in fiscal decentralisation, revenue mobilisation and public procurement, among others.
These Public Finance elements are fundamental to the fight against corruption, which is also underpinned by the ongoing EU support to justice and the rule of law in Kenya. In place since 2018, the initiative (PLEAD, EUR34M) supports better access to the justice system for citizens and the fight against corruption, with assistance to both the judiciary and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Several interventions under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights contribute to justice, human rights and good governance in the country.
The EU will take into account the Court’s recommendations, as appropriate, in the design and implementation of future EU cooperation programmes with Kenya. Job creation in particular, as well as transformative ‘Team Europe Initiatives’ in areas such as Digitalisation and the ‘Green Deal’ - in strong partnership with our EU Member States - will feature prominently in the discussions with Kenya on the next country programme.
Finally, yet equally importantly, the EU and Team Europe was amongst the first and most decisive supporter of Kenya in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic via health, cash transfer, safe trade and support to private sector initiatives, to the amount of EUR 300 million. A concrete example of this EU support is your article on the launch of the TMEA truckers’ app, a project funded mainly by the EU, as well as several EU Member States and Canada, which featured on the same page as you article on the ECA performance audit on Wednesday.
We are looking forward in engaging with Kenya on an exciting new partnership in the future that will bring the European Union and Kenya even closer together.
Simon Mordue is the European Union Ambassador to Kenya.