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Kenya: EU Partnership With Kenya a Full-Blown Recipe for Progress


New Africa-EU Partnership

As we celebrate this year's Europe Day, May 9, we have great confidence and satisfaction in the many ways in which our partnership with the government and the people of Kenya is progressing.

As we celebrate this year's Europe Day, May 9, we have great confidence and satisfaction in the many ways in which our partnership with the government and the people of Kenya is progressing.

Looking back over the past year, the strength of this relationship has enabled us to respond effectively to crises, most notably the stalling last summer of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and more recently, the impact of drought on Kenya and its neighbours.

By working closely together, we've been able to maintain the free access of Kenyan exports to the European Union, which is this country's biggest export market, despite the delays of the other countries in signing the EPA.

I am also proud that the EU was the first international partner to help Kenya address the worst consequences of drought by providing Sh4.5 billion funding.

With more than 500 million consumers, the EU is the world's biggest single market and the biggest exporter and importer.

It is also Kenya's largest trading partner. Some 26 per cent of Kenya's exports go to the EU, including major tea, coffee, cut flowers, peas and beans.

The floriculture sector has benefited from its access to the EU market, which is the destination of some 70 per cent of all the Kenyan flowers.

More than half-a-million Kenyans depend on the floriculture sector for their livelihoods.

The EU is also the biggest provider of humanitarian and development aid in the world.

In Kenya, we provide about 100 million euros a year in development aid.

Our partnership cuts across all sectors and geographical areas, ranging from roads, energy and entrepreneurship, to education, health care and agriculture.

The EU supports the Vision 2030 development strategy, focusing on four main areas.

These are food security and resilience to climate change, sustainable infrastructure, accountability of public institutions, and agriculture and rural development.

Kenya has built a strong foundation through a manufacturing sector that is embracing modern technology, scaling up value-added output, and contributing to the creation of a million new jobs in a year.

This is critical to absorb the rapidly rising population to provide youth with the skills to participate fully in the country's future.

The EU and Kenya have travelled together on the road to greater prosperity for 40 years.

This journey is reflected in our new annual report (the Blue Book), whose theme this year is 'Investing for Development'.

Our partnership has contributed to the country's transformation, boosting the private sector as the key driver of economic growth and structural change.

We are proud to have helped Kenya graduate from a poor, low-income country to one with great prospects for even faster economic growth and shared prosperity.

Supporting the private sector and public-private partnerships improves the lives of the poor and delivers on our promise of sustainable and socially-inclusive economic development.

We also encourage the private sector to get involved in green enterprises in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda for a better world.

Our policies and programmes cushion European investors in developing countries against risks, providing up to 88 billion euros to be invested this year in African partnerships.

Over the past decade, the European Commission has provided an average of 350 million euros a year for private sector development around the world.

This, together with the aid provided directly by the 28-member states' programmes, makes the EU the leading player in the transformation of developing countries.

Beyond economics, the EU and Kenya are natural allies on key international issues such as migration, climate action, security and democracy.

Over the past year our relationship has bloomed into a full-blown partnership based on shared values and common interests.

Together, we are confronting emerging threats and seeking to make the world a safer and better place for the present and future generations.

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