Kenya got a new and progressive constitution in 2010. Sweden contributes to the country's reform efforts through, among other things, support to the justice sector and the work of the institutional reforms that can provide citizens access to justice and effective management.
Photo: Trupti Shah
Our work in Kenya
The overall goal of Swedish development cooperation with Kenya envisions a Kenya in which all poor people will have the opportunity to improve their lives and in which their human rights are respected. Sida's development aid to Kenya is governed by Sweden's cooperation strategy with Kenya 2009-2013.
Sida's work in Kenya will be characterised by the result of 2013 presidential and parliamentary elections. The 2007 presidential elections were associated with ambiguities and were followed by violence that claimed more than 1200 lives. Absence of strong and robust institutions in Kenya became quite evident. Kofi Annan's mediation resulted in an agreement about a broad reform agenda, a coalition government and a commitment to end impunity related to post-election violence. The 2013 elections will show as to what extent the progress that Kenya has made will make free, fair and peaceful elections possible.
Kenya's constitution, which came into force in 2010, is an important part of the reform process. Sida's development cooperation in the country focuses on supporting this reform process in order to implement the articles of Kenya’s constitution, help improve lives of many poor people and contribute to respect for human rights.
Sida's cooperation in the area of democracy and human rights aims to counter the widespread corruption and strengthen Kenya's public administration and institutions. Natural resources, land reform and urban development are other priority areas of Sida's cooperation with Kenya.
In addition to financial aid, Sida, through the embassy in Nairobi, is also actively involved in the dialogue between international development partners, the Kenyan government and the civil society. This dialogue is the key instrument for Sida as it is about giving support to – and exerting pressure for ¬– achieving reforms. Sweden's comparative advantage lies in our good knowledge of Kenya that is based on our long presence in the country and breadth of our previous cooperation, as well as on the trust that both the Kenyan government as well as the Kenyan civil society have in us because Sweden never had a colonial past in the country. This creates good prerequisites for conducting a dialogue even on difficult issues such as democracy, human rights and corruption.
Democracy and human rights
The main causes of poverty in Kenya are structural. Political institutions, which have long been guided by the interests of the elite, have slowed down democratic development and deterred investors.
We therefore support the government’s reform work, partly through wide-scale reforms within the legal sector where Sida has made important contributions in the initial stages of the process to reform the judiciary. The Swedish support within the area of democracy and human rights has also contributed to the introduction of a number of laws important for strengthening the electoral system and police reform. This includes support through the Swedish National Police Board, whereby a system of so-called “community policing” is being built up in the country. Sida also supports Kenya's ongoing reform process within the prison system (via the Raoul Wallenberg Institute), as well as the process to create an effective public financial management.
Environment and natural resources
In Kenya’s strategy for economic growth among the rural poor, agriculture has been identified as one of the most important factors. Sida gives development aid for a broad programme that supports Kenyan agriculture sector, and is an active partner in the national sector reform programme.
The programme contains support for reforms within the water sector. These reforms will contribute to the decentralisation of and greater access to water resources. Another important part of the programme is the commercialisation of farming. One example is the National Agriculture and Livestock Extension Programme (NALEP), a network that offers financing and advice to small farmers. NALEP reaches 2.5 million small farmers.
The focus is on improving the productivity of small-scale farmers, access to market channels and increased opportunities for women to participate in development of agriculture. Droughts and floods are a recurrent phenomenon in Kenya, such as the last drought in 2011 that caused a humanitarian crisis and human suffering. In October 2012, Kenya adopted a strategy to avert the risk of more droughts within the coming 10 years. Currently, work is underway to mobilise financial support through Kenya's Medium Term Plan 2013-2017 that will, among many other things, help achieve this important goal. Sweden's work in the natural resources sector is very relevant in this context.
Sida's portfolio includes a long-term support for reforms within the water sector. Among other, reforms will contribute to decentralisation of and increase in access to water resources, as well as create a more efficient management of water sources on national and local levels.
Sida also supports reforms within the land sector, which contributed to the improvement in legislation and increased effectiveness of land management - including electronic registration of title deeds - which is very important for poor people's access to land.
The number of Kenya’s slum areas has exploded in last few decades. Many people living in slums are deeply alienated from the rest of the society. Creating better living conditions for people living in slums and offering them better prospects is crucial for the country’s future. We are therefore working side by side with both the Kenyan government and civil society organisations to put greater focus on key issues such as housing improvements, land ownership and human rights. Sida's support to urban development contributes to increased awareness about the vulnerable situation of slum residents, as well as the need for increased popular participation in urban planning.