EU to mobilize 400 billion shillings to support Kenya’s green transition

It’s Europe Day again. This day marks the origins of the European Union as a peace project in Europe. The EU aims to contribute to peace and security and to the sustainable development of the Earth (Article 2 of the EU Lisbon Treaty). It is the EU’s achievements in this area, we believe, that won the EU the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. This is also why the EU supports peace efforts in around the world, including Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Alas, Europe is not at peace on May 9 due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. If we could have a birthday wish today, it would be peace for the people of Ukraine and relief for those who suffer the consequences of Russian aggression around the world. We are encouraged by the global outpouring of support for Ukraine and its people, their sovereignty and their freedom from foreign aggression.

Closer to Kenya, the past year has been fruitful for relations between Kenya, the EU and its Member States, or Team Europe as we like to call it. Following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Brussels last June, we have established a new EU-Kenya Strategic Dialogue which broadens and deepens our partnership, with a focus on political, security and regional issues, development sustainability, as well as trade and investment. A first results-oriented strategic dialogue took place in January and we are convinced that we will get better and better. Together, the EU and Kenya continued their partnership at the AU-EU summit in Brussels in February this year.

A very important mutual interest is the green transition, which focuses on preserving the planet for future generations. The drought that is currently affecting many parts of Kenya and destroying many livelihoods is a painful reminder of the importance of tackling climate change. The EU has long supported the National Drought Management Authority and other green policy measures in Kenya. The EU has also increased its humanitarian aid to Kenya to respond to the deadly effects of the drought. Our theme for Europe Day 2022 is young Kenyans and the green transition.

More needs to be done on all sides, and young people need to be fully involved. The climate crisis is a challenge for everyone, but especially for young people who will inherit the world we leave behind. Yet the daily lives of many young Kenyans also mean that the fight against climate change and environmental degradation has taken a back seat to making ends meet.

This year, on Europe Day, we want to emphasize that preserving the planet and preserving the livelihoods of future generations of Kenyans are intertwined. The green transition offers many opportunities for jobs and livelihoods and, with that, for the continued economic and social transformation of the country. Our online program for Europe Day at 6:00 p.m. today (on our Facebook page and YouTube channel @EUinKenya) will showcase the achievements of young Kenyans who are already working on the green transition and inspiring others, including with the support from Team Europe.

We will not stop there: the green transition is a key theme of Team Europe’s support to Kenya within the framework of the EU-Kenya strategic dialogue. It covers the circular economy, climate-smart agriculture, renewable energy, natural capital and biodiversity, and sustainable urban development and infrastructure. We are mobilizing about 400 billion shillings for Kenya in the form of grants, loans and blended finance in 118 different projects implemented by the EU, Member States and the European Investment Bank. This is just one initiative among many others.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU bank, has supported Kenya’s first steps towards renewable energy generation. The bank has been active in Kenya since 1975 and opened its regional hub for East Africa here in Nairobi last November. This underscores our appreciation for the enabling environment that Kenya offers. The EIB office here will also help lead the EU’s new Global Gateway initiative focused on key investments in Kenya and the region, to promote green jobs, growth and more.

What leads us to place our trust in Kenya is not only Kenya’s economic strength in the region, but more than that, Kenya’s status as a democratic leader in the region and its independent judiciary which guarantees the rule of straight.

Democratic processes can be complex. We know this very well from our experiences in Europe. Yet Kenyan democracy and its rule of law is the best guarantee that conditions of freedom will prevail, for Kenyan media, for civil society, for national and international investors and for all Kenyan women and men – we hope that the next elections will see many more women elected. These are the conditions required to build true human development and prosperity for all Kenyans.

The EU, together with other like-minded partners, will continue to stand by Kenya: we have been invited by the IEBC and the Government of Kenya to deploy an EU Election Observation Mission to the 2022 elections. This deployment will contribute to the continued improvements in good governance that began in 2002, under the leadership of President Mwai Kibaki. A credible and peaceful election will cement Kenya’s leading role in the region, in Africa and globally.

EU support builds on the existing strengths of the EU-Kenya relationship: Team Europe is one of Kenya’s main development partners. We are Kenya’s largest trading partner and export market. We are working closely with our Kenyan partners to start implementing the Economic Partnership Agreement very soon. But of course, with the climate crisis we face, we need to embrace the green transition – and the creative power of Kenyan youth – to grow in a sustainable, inclusive and greener way.

18 EU Ambassadors representing their countries in Kenya also contributed to this article.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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