The Republic of Kenya is a low-middle-income country with an average annual economic growth of 4.8% . The country is facing various challenges, including poverty, marked disagreements in the distribution of income and wealth, in access to education and basic services. These challenges have been exacerbated by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a marked impact on the economy. However, 2021 marked a strong recovery in the economic sector: according to estimates by the World Bank, the growth rate for 2022 will be around 5.0% .
From an institutional point of view, the country has undergone a profound change in the last decade, after the introduction of the new Constitution in 2010. The new constitution defined a decentralized government structure in favor of local authorities (47 counties).
The country's main development strategy is represented by the Kenya Vision 2030 document, and is based on 4 priority pillars: development of manufacturing and job creation, social housing, access to health for all, food security and nutrition.
The Italian contribution
The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) contributes to align itself with the development strategy of the Kenyan government by promoting initiatives in several key sectors.
Italian cooperation has a long presence in Kenya, attributable to the "Agreement for economic, technical and development cooperation between Kenya and Italy" of November 19, 1985. Furthermore, since the late nineties, Kenya has become a priority country for Italian cooperation; bilateral cooperation has therefore consolidated over time in some sectors with a traditional presence, such as agriculture and irrigation, WASH, territorial development and human development (health and education), and in some areas of intervention, such as the County of West Pokot in the North West, bordering Uganda, Baringo County along the Rift Valley, informal peri-urban settlements in Nairobi, Kitui County in the South East and Kilifi County on the Indian Ocean coast. All the intervention counties fall within the ASALs classification (Arid and Semi-Arid Lands), that is to say the areas most affected by weather variations and effects of climate change. A recent report by the Bureau of Statistics (2019) calculated the development indices differentiated by county, identifying in the disparities in the gross product by county (Gross County Product) the need to reduce poverty and inclusive growth.
AICS activities in Kenya can be grouped into five main intervention sectors: i) Agricultural Development, Forestry, Fisheries, Environment, ii) Female Empowerment, Human Rights and Support to Civil Society, iii) Urban Development and Infrastructure; iv) Support to the private sector and v) Access to basic services.
As a mode of intervention, bilateral cooperation finances government-run projects through donations and, to a greater extent, concessional credits, in implementation of the development agenda outlined in "Kenya Vision 2030". In the absence of parallel Project Implementation Units, the headquarters of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) in Nairobi provides targeted and limited technical assistance to the competent ministries, supporting them in the use of national management systems, in full compliance with the principles of ownership. , alignment, use of country systems.
In addition to bilateral government cooperation, many Italian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have been working for over 30 years in a spirit of solidarity and partnership for development in Kenya, successfully participating in the tenders launched by AICS Rome.
Furthermore, many of the CSOs are gathered in COIKE, the coordination and representation body of the Italian CSOs present in Kenya.
The Nairobi office supports this cooperation through regular exchange and discussion meetings, promoted in agreement with the Embassy of Italy in Kenya. Traditional intervention sectors are agriculture and resilience, health, child protection and education.