Delegation of the European Union to Kenya

EU development assistance to Kenya

12/05/2016 - 11:38

Together, the European Union and its Member States are the biggest suppliers of development assistance to Kenya. The EU uses several different channels of funding to support development.

Photo: Kenya's agriculture minister Hon. Mwangi Kiunjuri (Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Irrigation) speaking at the launch of the €100 million AgriFI programme


The different ways in which the European Union funds Kenya's development assistance

The European Union uses several different channels of funding to support development in Kenya:

  • Development grants through the EU system, which is specifically for Kenya;
  • Development grants through the EU system, which supports projects in Kenya and other countries;
  • Development loans from the European Investment Bank to projects in Kenya;
  • Grants directly from several EU Member States, supporting projects in Kenya (and, in some cases, other countries).

In addition, the European Union provides humanitarian aid to Kenya and neighbouring countries in response to emergencies such as natural disasters and inflows of refugees. (This aid isn't counted as development assistance.)

EU funding specifically for Kenya

In Kenya, the European Union spends about €100 million per year (some 11 billion Kenyan shillings) on grants for development. Most of the grants are for projects that last for several years, so (for example) payments under the €100 million AgriFi programme that was launched in 2018 will be spread over several years.

Some of the €100 million per year spent in Kenya is regional or thematic funding for projects in Kenya and other countries, but most is specifically for Kenya and is based on Kenya’s development strategy Vision 2030 and is planned in partnership with the Kenyan Government (and in consultation with other international donors). The following sectors have been identified as priorities for this funding:

  • Food security and resilience to climatic shocks

    Food and nutrition security is about ensuring that everybody is able to access sufficient, affordable and nutritious food. Through its support, the European Union seeks to build resilience to food crises and help ensure that no one is left hungry. Fighting under-nutrition is vital to give the world's poorest children a chance to lead healthier lives, learn better and thus improve their future income opportunities. The European Union is a strong international supporter of sustainable development. To address climate change challenges in this context, it backs a wide variety of activities dealing with issues such as adaptation, mitigation, disaster risk reduction and desertification.

  • Sustainable infrastructure

    Kenya’s Vision 2030 identifies transport infrastructure as one of its priorities. Roads remain the dominant mode of transport, carrying 80% of passengers and freight; they are also the only means of access for rural communities. The European Union has supported the development of transport infrastructure in Kenya for more than 25 years.

  • Accountability of public institutions

    Kenya's relatively new constitution (of 2010) that came with a raft of changes in the country’s political and economic governance envisages a democratic political system that is issue-based, people-centred, result-oriented and accountable to the public. The 2013 elections paved the way for a devolved system of government and a bi-cameral parliament. The priorities for EU support for governance are jointly set by Kenya and the EU, and include:

    • Support for issue-based and credible elections;
    • Support for more transparent management of public funds at central and county level;
    • Support for increased equality in access to, and delivery of, justice.

The EU's development assistance to Kenya contributes to varying degrees to the Government's Big Four development priorities for 2017-2022: manufacturing; universal healthcare; affordable housing, and food security.

See also the section below on EU-funded projects in Kenya's 47 counties, which shows how the funding is spread across the country.

EU regional/thematic funding for Kenya and other countries

In addition to the funding earmarked specifically for Kenya, the European Union funds or co-funds many programmes that are open to Kenya as well as to other countries. Examples of these include:

  • the Enact programme: "Enhancing Africa's response to transnational organised crime";
  • the ACP Cultures Plus programme for the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific group of countries, which co-funded the Kenyan film Rafiki;
  • the Culture At Work Africa programme, supporting cultural projects that promote intercultural dialogue and social cohesion in Kenya and other selected African countries - the closing date for applications for funding is 21 September 2018;
  • the UN's Mobile Film Festival, which this year invites films inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be submitted by 11 October 2018.

European Investment Bank lending to Kenya

Kenya also benefits from development loans from the European Investment Bank, for example to support the building of energy and transport infrastructure in this country. The European Investment Bank's office in Nairobi covers Kenya and the rest of East Africa.

EU Member States' funding for projects in Kenya

All 28 EU Member States contribute to the EU budget, from which the EU's development funding for Kenya and other countries comes. In addition, several of the EU Member States have their own bilateral development programmes for Kenya and other countries.

EU-funded projects in Kenya's 47 counties

The European Union's funding supports programmes and projects all over Kenya, and we've produced snapshots of EU support for development in each of the 47 counties. (On the list of counties below, click on the name of a county to see which projects we're supporting there.)

1. Mombasa 13. Tharaka-Nithi 25. Samburu 37. Kakamega
2. Kwale 14. Embu 26. Trans-Nzoia 38. Vihiga
3. Kilifi 15. Kitui 27. Uasin Gishu 39. Bungoma
4. Tana River 16. Machakos 28. Elgeyo-Marakwet 40. Busia
5. Lamu 17. Makueni 29. Nandi 41. Siaya
6. Taita–Taveta 18. Nyandarua 30. Baringo 42. Kisumu
7. Garissa 19. Nyeri 31. Laikipia 43. Homa Bay
8. Wajir 20. Kirinyaga 32. Nakuru 44. Migori
9. Mandera 21. Murang'a 33. Narok 45. Kisii
10. Marsabit 22. Kiambu 34. Kajiado 46. Nyamira
11. Isiolo 23. Turkana 35. Kericho 47. Nairobi
12. Meru 24. West Pokot 36. Bomet  


In addition the EU provides some funding to Kenya for other cross-cutting activities, such as support to strengthen the National Treasury's role as the national authorising officer of development funding for the country.