An audit report on the Ksh51 billion donation sent to Kenya by the European Union (EU) between 2014-2020 has revealed glaring errors.
The report titled Special Report: EU Development Aid to Kenya 2020, conducted by the European Court of Auditors raised several questions as to how the aid was spent.
Juhan Parts, the former prime minister of Estonia who published the report, criticised the standardised approach taken across multiple countries.
“Spreading Kenya’s funding over so many areas increases the risk of it not reaching the necessary critical mass in any single sector to achieve significant results,” Parts told Vince Chadwick, a journalist.
that 90% of the EU funding was allocated using a standard formula for African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries, which could not address their specific development obstacles or the funding gap.
The report further questioned the EU's decision to focus heavily on the agricultural sector, as opposed to the manufacturing industry.
“The agriculture sector is not the source of job creation in the numbers which Kenya needs,” Parts detailed. “If job creation is a kind of medicine for reducing poverty, then for sure if we are investing [in] agriculture then in the longer term or middle term, for sure there will be less jobs.
"At the same time, talking about manufacturing, there are a lot of opportunities to create more value on this production chain in Kenya and that would be easily part of the manufacturing activity and creating jobs, doing something with these agricultural products.”
Felix Fernandez-Shaw, Director at the Commission’s Development Department, stated that it was a matter of political choices made in consultation with the Kenyan government about which sectors were the best vectors for economic growth.
The audit recommended the adoption of customised aid plans to address specific needs while focusing on a few sectors and ensuring completion.
In response to the audit report, EU Ambassador to Kenya, Simon Mordue, maintained that through dialogue and cooperation the EU has contributed to Kenya’s economic and social progress in the past decade, and the European Court of Auditors acknowledges that the EU’s projects have largely achieved their objectives.
"Going forward, in line with the Court’s recommendations, since this year an enhanced performance based approach has been introduced in the EU’s new budget support programme (EUR26M). Efforts to support the public finance reform strategy have been linked to concrete deliverables in fiscal decentralisation, revenue mobilisation and public procurement, among others," his statement reads in part.
He reiterated that the EU was looking to expand investments in support of President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four agenda; deepening dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest, such as sustainable, job-creating development, countering terrorism or addressing climate change; and allying on peace and security in the wider region and on multilateral agendas.