Finland’s Development Cooperation in Kenya

Kenya is a lower middle-income country with a rising middle class that has spurred the country’s economy to a five-percent growth. 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(Opens New Window)

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 supporting the World Bank’s Devolution Fund, Finland has fostered Kenyan counties’ capacity to manage their tasks. The civic education provided by URAIA Trust, which is supported by Finland, has enhanced the citizens’ awareness of the counties’ responsibilities, their participation opportunities and other constitutional rights.
  • By supporting UN Women’s Country Strategy and by means of its own advocacy work, Finland has contributed to the implementation of equality legislation and policies. Thanks to legislative reforms, the number of women in the Kenyan Parliament has grown.
  • Many women entrepreneurs have learned how to register their businesses from UN Women, which has also provided them information about the requirements of competitive tendering in Kenya’s public sector and about participation in tendering and how to win a contract.
  • UN Women and CSOs have supported women who have experienced violence, providing them with the services they need in places such as the Kibera slum and refugee camps in Dadaab and Kakuma.
  • The number of people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition has dropped from 1.2 million to 850,000. Finland has supported smallholders in Busia County, where crop yields have improved and farmers have almost doubled their income by applying agricultural lime on fields, increasing irrigation and strengthening production chains. The food security of the poor has been improved by means of investing in small animal husbandry.
  • More than a half of the population in Kenya have access to clean drinking water. Thanks to the support provided through Finland’s water programme, more than 106,000 rural residents have now access to enhanced water supply and conflicts over water are less common. A joint Finnish-Swedish water project has introduced a new approach to producing water services in rural areas, aiming for larger entities and better service quality.
  • Finland’s support has helped to halt deforestation in Kenya and the forest resource is growing again. Forests provide additional income and other benefits to a growing number of people living in their vicinity, which promotes forest conservation. The Kenya Forest Service have made reforms to ensure transparency and consistency in their cooperation 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.

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 Finland’s development cooperation are linked with the fragile political situation in Kenya and in the surrounding region. 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.​​​​​

Ongoing programmes

Accountable and good governance that promotes human rights:

  • Rooting democracy in Kenya at grassroots level: The programme is implemented by URAIA Trust and its partners in most Kenyan counties. Supported by EUR 3.2 million in 2016–2019. The activities of URAIA boost citizens’ involvement and strengthens the civil society especially by civic education.

  • A project related to a devolved system of government in Kenya is being planned by UNDP. Finland’s planned contribution is EUR 5 million in 2019-2022.

  • The joint Finnish-Swedish water programme: Finland will contribute EUR 7 million in 2014–2018; the total budget of the project is EUR 17 million. The aim is to ensure that access to water and sanitation services is available to a larger number of poor people and to introduce more sustainable water resources management practices. The project is implemented by the Water Services Trust Fund under the Ministry of Water and Irrigation of Kenya.

Job creation and livelihoods

  • Surveys and plans are being made to foster cooperation leading to jobs and better livelihoods.
  • Position of women and girls

  • Finland supports women’s empowerment through UN Women. The support is EUR 4 million in 2016–2019. Finland’s support focuses on the promotion of women’s political participation and mainstreaming of equality in the planning and budgeting processes.

  • A new bilateral programme to prevent sexual and gender-based violence is planned for 2019-2023.