The EU's work in Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda

1. Rwanda

General context

Rwanda is a small, landlocked country with an increasing demographic growth. Its economic performance over the last decade has been a success story. Whereas in 2000 70% of the population lived below the poverty line, nowadays this figure has been reduced to 45%. This and other remarkable results towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been among the best in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In spite of such progress, however, it still remains a low income country, with a high level of inequality and heavily dependent on foreign assistance.

It also hosts around 150,000 refugees from neighbouring countries, namely Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

Regional cooperation

Rwanda is a member of a number of African regional organisations, such as the Eastern African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Rwanda recently also joined the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) to expand its economic interests westwards.

Rwanda is part of the EU-East African Community Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), together with other countries in the region (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda).

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – achievements

Rwanda is on track to achieving three of the Millennium Development Goals: universal primary education, promoting gender equality and reducing child mortality. Significant progress has also been made in eradicating poverty and improving maternal health.

EU cooperation with Rwanda

The 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programme (NIP) for Rwanda was signed in Brussels in September 2014 with an amount of €460 million for the time period 2014-2020. The overall objective is poverty reduction and the achievement of the MDGs.

The focal sectors are:

a) Sustainable energy – support to the energy sector will focus on power generation, access to energy for urban and rural households, energy efficiency and the reduction of diesel and biomass dependency;

b) Sustainable agriculture and food security, with a specific emphasis on improving food and nutrition security among rural households;

c) Accountable governance, in which the focus will be on strengthening public accountability, democratic governance, and ensuring the efficient, effective and accountable use of public resources.

Overall, support to the focal sectors is underpinned by support to civil society, strengthening of public institutions, as well as their capacity-building.

EU support to Rwanda takes mainly the form of “budget support” or direct fund transfers to the Treasury of the Government. In 2014, €40 million were disbursed and approximately another €29 million are again expected to be disbursed by December 2015.

During 2014, several financing agreements have been signed: €23 million projects in the energy sector, €4 million for the Technical Cooperation Facility and €4 million for the fight against climate change through the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA).

Project Example

The EU is funding the Community-Assisted Access to Sustainable Energy (CASE) project with €750,000. This aims to produce energy-saving cooking stoves and to provide a way of generating income for the poor. The impact has been significant, with 2,200 stoves built and 60,000 people trained on the efficient use of biomass and environmental protection.

2. Kenya

General context  

Kenya is the leading economy in the region and economic performance has been solid. The country has crossed the threshold to become a low-middle income country. Progress has been achieved on a few MDGs, in particular on access to education. However, the progress on the rest of the MDGs remains slow.

Poverty is widespread, affecting 39% of the population in 2012, down from 47% in 2005. Another 25% of Kenyans still do not have enough income to meet their basic food needs.

Recurrent severe draughts, inequality, youth unemployment, corruption, impunity, insecurity, and increased risks of terror attacks are important challenges that the country is facing and which may threaten to undo the progress achieved.

Targeted investments in infrastructure and agriculture for job creation, addressing inequalities and vulnerabilities and the continuation of the reform process are key to reducing poverty through growth more effectively. Strengthening government institutions and enhancing accountability are other important areas to be addressed.

Kenya is part of the EU-East African Community European Partnership Agreements (EPA), signed in 2014. As a consequence of the new agreement, Kenya has again regained duty-free quota-free access for its exports to the EU since 25 December 2014. The country’s main exports to the EU are horticultural products (including flowers) and tea. The EU is Kenya’s biggest export market.

Regional Cooperation

Kenya is a founding member of the Eastern African Community (EAC) and a member of several Africa regional organisations such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Kenya is part of the EU-East African Community Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – achievements

Overall Kenya’s progress towards the achievement of the MDGs remains on track although progress on some of the targets has been slow. Significant progress has been made in achieving the goal on universal primary education by 2015 given the continued implementation of Free Primary Education.

EU cooperation with Kenya

The 11th EDF National Indicative Programme (NIP) was signed by the EU and Kenya on 19 June 2014 in Nairobi. It includes a total indicative allocation of €435 million. The sectors of concentration are food security/agriculture as a key method of poverty reduction, governance and infrastructure. The latter sector is crucial for Kenya’s job creation and its overall economic growth and trade.  

Kenya benefits from different types of regional support through the EDF. The main one is received from the EU Water Facility (€31 million) and the EU Energy Facility (€10 million). Additionally, the country benefits from Intra ACP programmes which have a continental scope in the nature of their support. One such example is the programme “Reinforcing Veterinary Governance in Africa” with a budget of around €29 million.

Kenya also benefits from further additional support with a total portfolio of around €120 million. The projects are in the areas of food security (€60 million) and support to local authorities and non-state actors (€30 million).

Project examples

The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project aims to provide reliable, low cost wind power to the Kenyan national grid and will benefit from €25 million funded by the EU–Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund. The total project costs €620 million, of which the European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide €200 million.

EU security sector cooperation in Kenya and the Horn of Africa

Following the terrorist attack on the Westgate shopping mall in September 2013, a €19 million support package in the area of counter-terrorism, under the Instrument contributing to Security and Peace (IcSP), was adopted and is currently being implemented in Kenya and the Horn of Africa. The package consists of three components:

  • €2 million for STRIVE (“strengthening resilience to violent extremism”), a project on combatting violent extremism;
  • €6 million for a project on countering the financing of terrorism / anti-money laundering;
  • €11 million for a project on strengthening regional counter-terrorism law enforcement.

Emergency Trust Fund

The EU believes in promoting better opportunities, security, development and better migration management in African countries of origin, such as Kenya. In fact, as announced by President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker on 9 September 2015, the EU is preparing to launch an Emergency Trust Fund of about €1.8 billion to address the root causes of instability in the countries of origin as well as to tackle illegal migration and displacement.

One such project from this Emergency Trust Fund, with a budget of around €30 million, could be to provide socio-economic opportunities in Coastal Kenya (such as in the fisheries sector) where high poverty rates of up to 80% persist. The objective is to provide and enhance social and economic opportunities for youths, to strengthen security in communities and to promote dialogue and trust between authorities and vulnerable groups of Kenyan society.

Another project, with a budget of around €50 million, is also being foreseen to facilitate repatriation and reintegration of Somalis in Kenya and Yemen. This will be done through three ways: (1) by setting up an appropriate legal and regulatory framework, including for land tenure; (2) by providing basic services and livelihood opportunities and (3) by promoting dialogue and social cohesion between repatriated Somalis and host communities.

3. Uganda

General context

Uganda, a land locked country, is a key partner of the EU and considered as an anchor of stability in its region. It is however confronted a number of challenges:   very high levels of corruption that are hindering economic development; a very high population growth coupled up with high youth unemployment; a lack of transport infrastructure; and food security, especially in Northern Uganda and Karamoja.

Regional cooperation

Uganda is a member of several Africa regional organisations, such as the Eastern African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Like Rwanda and Kenya, Uganda is also part of the EU-East African Community Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), together with Burundi, and Tanzania.

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – achievements

Overall, Uganda has seen a significant reduction in absolute poverty (from 39% of the total population in 2000 to 19% in 2012). However, progress still needs to be made with regards to the MDGs overall.

EU cooperation with Uganda

The 11th EDF National Indicative Programme (NIP) for Uganda was signed in December 2014. The focal sectors under the 11th EDF (€578 million) are (1) transport infrastructure with the rehabilitation of major routes, (2) food security and agriculture (3) and good governance.

Uganda also benefits from the Everything-But-Arms arrangement for duty free access to the EU.

Budget Support (€175 million) under the 10th NIP has played a major role in allowing a strong dialogue on public finance management, transparency and accountability.

Under the 10th NIP, focus has been put on agriculture, with the rehabilitation of fragile regions. Support to the private sector in agriculture is also significant, including innovative action in forestry. Regarding transport, emphasis has been put on the rehabilitation of major routes allowing for regional interconnectivity.

Project example

The Karamoja Livelihoods Programme (KALIP), for which the EU is providing €15 million between 2009-2015, helps to promote peace by supporting livelihoods, including agro-pastoral production and alternative income generation opportunities for the people of Karamoja in North East Uganda. The focus of KALIP is placed on improving livestock health, on improving crop production to address immediate food security and basic incomes, and on enhancing general peace and security in areas that are being resettled and re-establish their production capacity.