Finland’s Development Cooperation in Kenya

Kenya is a lower middle income country with a five percent economic growth spurred by a rising middle class. However, poverty continues to be a serious problem; nearly 40% of the Kenyan population lives on less than one USD per day. Kenya plays an important role in regional stability and development. By supporting Kenya, Finland promotes regional stability and security in East Africa. In the coming years the focus of cooperation will shift more towards developing trade between Kenya and Finland. Finland's planned budget frame for 2016–2019 is EUR 34 million.

Country Strategy for Development Cooperation, Kenya 2016-2019

Infograafi Kenia, englanti

Commercial cooperation

Finland’s development cooperation uses private sector financing instruments to support the development of Kenya’s commercial and economic operating environment. Finnfund has significant investments in Kenya, the largest single investment being Lake Turkana’s Windmill Park scheduled for completion in summer 2017. It will be the largest windmill park in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Finnpartnership Business Partnership Programme is active in Kenya, as is evidenced by tens of projects that are ongoing or under preparation. The BEAM instrument is also applied in Kenya through a few projects. Electricity supply in the surroundings of Nairobi is developed through the Juja Sub Station electric power plant which receives concessional credit.

In addition to country-specific projects, Finland is funding a number of regional and multilateral trade development projects in Kenya, including TradeMark East Africa and Finland’s support through the World Customs Organization, aimed to develop the business environment in East Africa. The Energy and Environment Partnership Programme also funded by Finland has several ongoing projects in Kenya.

Cooperation by civil society organisations

Several Finnish civil society organisations (CSOs) are active in Kenya, thereby complementing Finland’s bilateral development cooperation. Their activities focus on promoting human rights and the position of women and people with disabilities. In 2015 Finland supported 25 Finnish CSOs with EUR 5.6 million.


  • By the support for the World Bank’s Devolution Fund Finland has improved the opportunities of the counties to manage their tasks. Work by the URAI Trust to inform the citizens supported by Finland has increased the citizens’ awareness of the obligations of the counties, opportunities to participate and other constitutional rights.

  • By the support to the UN WOMEN Country Strategy and through its own influence Finland has contributed to the implementation of equality legislation and policy.  Thanks to legislative reforms the share of women in the Kenyan Parliament has grown.

  • The work by the UN WOMEN has enabled many women entrepreneurs to register their companies, learn about the requirements of competitive tendering in Kenya’s public sector, and participate and succeed in the tendering.

  • UN WOMEN and CSOs have supported women who have experienced violence and provided them with the services they need in places such as the Kibera slum and the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps.

  • A joint anti-corruption project of Finland, Sweden and Germany has built the Kenyan central government’s capacity to investigate cases of corruption. In 2016 a total of 18 public officials were sentenced for corruption, and this is the first time when a trial for an individual case of corruption took only a year. Nearly EUR 4 million have been retrieved.

  • Kenya has managed to reduce the number of people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition from 1.2 million to 850,000. Finland has given support to small farmers in the Busia County, improving (and sometimes doubling) their opportunities to earn a living by applying agricultural lime on fields, increasing irrigation and strengthening production chains. The promotion of small-scale animal husbandry has also improved the food security of the region’s poor.

  • More than half of the Kenyan population have access to clean drinking water. Thanks to the support provided within Finland’s water programme, more than 106,000 rural residents are now within the scope of enhanced water supply, and conflicts over water are less common. The joint Finnish-Swedish water project has introduced a new approach to producing water services in rural areas, aiming for a larger and more comprehensive scale and better service quality. Finland’s support has contributed to halting forest loss in Kenya and now the forest resource is again growing. The forests provide additional income and other benefits to a growing number of people living in their vicinity, which promotes the conservation of forests. The operations of the Kenya Forest Service have been reformed to ensure transparency and consistency in its actions with partners. Kenya’s forest policy, legislation and practices have been modernised, and the conditions for private sector investments and operations are now better than before.

  • Finland, together with the Kenyan Government and other financers, has promoted the rights of peoples depending on forests, with the aim to reduce conflicts and improve the conditions for livelihoods.

Risk management

The risks of development cooperation are mitigated by means of systematic monitoring of projects and programmes and dialogue with the partners and the country’s administration. At the same time the people’s opportunities to influence the development of the country are promoted.

The risks threatening Kenya's development and Finnish development cooperation are primarily related to Kenya' fragile political situation. Corruption is a serious issue in Kenya. Finland manages the risks by supporting the development of good governance and transparency of the projects and by enhancing supervision.

Further risks are related to the security situation in Kenya. Finland contributes to the promotion of regional stability by, for example, participating in the training of the East African conflict management division.


Support provided by Finland:

Accountable and good governance that promotes human rights:

  • Support for the World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund on Accountable Devolution. Finland’s contribution is EUR 2 million in 2015–2019: The goal is to strengthen the new decentralised system of governance and support the counties in managing their new tasks.

  • Rooting democracy in Kenya through civic engagement: The programme is implemented by the URAIA Trust and its partners in most of the Kenyan counties. Support of EUR 3.2 million in 2016–2019. The activity of the URAIA increases citizens’ involvement and strengthens the civil society especially by informing the citizens.

  • Plans concerning the promotion of good governance and accountability: Implemented by GOZ together with Kenyan institutions engaged in anti-corruption work. Finland’s planned contribution is EUR 2 million in 2017–2018. The aim is to strengthen action against corruption in the central government and five counties.

  • The joint Finnish-Swedish water programme: Finland’s contribution is EUR 7 million for 2014–2018; the total budget of the project is EUR 17 million. The aim is to provide increasing numbers of the poor with access to water and sanitation services and to enhance more sustainable water resources management. The project is implemented by the Water Services Trust Fund under the Ministry of Water and Irrigation of Kenya.

Job creation and livelihoods:

  • Programme for Agriculture and Livelihoods in Western Communities Palweco; EUR 16.6 million in 2011–2017. The programme supports Busia County in its efforts to reduce poverty and malnutrition and to improve the livelihood of particularly women and other vulnerable groups.

  • New bilateral forest sector programme planned for 2018–2021. The programme aims to increase the productivity and employment in the forest sector, strengthen good governance and attract investments to the sector.

Position of women and girls:

  • Finland supports strengthening the position of women through the UN WOMEN. The support is EUR 4 million in 2016–2019. Finland supports, in particular, promoting women’s political participation and mainstreaming equality in the planning and budgeting processes.

  • New bilateral programme to prevent sexual and gendered violence planned for 2018–2020.

The funds for local cooperation managed by the Embassy of Finland in Nairobi supports civic society organisations acting to improve the rights of women and girls and support the creation of jobs and livelihoods especially for women and the young.