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Country Development Cooperation Strategy

The United States and Kenya have enjoyed a close relationship over the past 50 years, which provides a firm foundation for achieving common development, diplomatic, economic and security objectives.

With the historic 2013 elections declared peaceful, transparent and credible, Kenya now faces a vital five-year time period in which to implement a broad array of demanding and complex reforms. These include a comprehensive devolution of power and authority under the new constitution; economic reforms to accelerate growth, create jobs, reduce corruption and poverty, and expand domestic and international markets; and development of sustainable systems to ensure that all its citizens are healthy and educated with the skills and knowledge to effectively participate in the transformation of the country’s economy and governance.

This dynamic transformation requires USAID/Kenya to embrace a new business model for implementing the FY 2014-2018 Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS). Partnerships will be more strategic, mature, and mutually accountable; new and innovative alliances with the private sector and other donors will be pursued to leverage resources, impact and expertise; Kenya can and should exert greater leadership and take greater responsibility for its own development; and USAID Forward and collaborative learning approaches will be applied to adapt and respond to change. This transformational business model is consistent with Vision 2030, Kenya’s long-term development blueprint. It will help transform Kenya into a globally competitive and prosperous country for all by using more innovative approaches to development.

However, the development context in Kenya is unstable and marked by numerous complex challenges. These include a poor enabling environment for economic growth; half of the population living in poverty with limited access to basic services; chronic drought and food insecurity; stubbornly high maternal and under-five mortality rates; weak rule of law allowing corruption and a culture of impunity to flourish; natural resource degradation; increased radicalization; and a growing youth population with limited employment options putting pressure on social systems. It is these challenges that Kenya, with its newly elected county offi cials and emerging democratic institutions, must address to make progress towards its Vision 2030 goals.

The Kenya Country Development Cooperation Strategy

Why has Kenya been unable to take advantage of its abundant fi nancial, human and natural resources to achieve economic growth and prosperity? Political economy analyses conducted by the Department for International Development (DFID) (2004), the Drivers of Accountability Program (2012), and the USAID Devolution in Kenya (2011) study cite the corrosive link between income inequality and political and economic interests. The local political and business elite have ruled Kenya since independence, operating through patronage politics, ethnicity, and personal ties. Centralized power and a lack of transparency have been a fact of life. Corruption is pervasive and entrenched at all levels due to a complex business regulatory environment, low rule of law, and an opaque political process and system. However, the impetus for change has reached a critical point. A popular vision for change exists, with robust human and economic capacity and strong political support for it.

The time is ripe for a new USG strategy in Kenya. USAID/Kenya is positioned to play a catalytic role in accelerating growth and opportunity while reducing extreme poverty by building on over 50 years of partnership, the momentum of a new constitution, and a clear national vision.

The sectors in which USAID/Kenya works continue to be relevant, and will not dramatically change. But the approach to the work will – with increased collaboration, greater involvement of local organizations and the private sector, frank and open dialogue, greater innovation in implementation mechanisms and more emphasis on sustainability. There are enormous risks as Kenya’s government, private sector and people – and its development partners – make course corrections and flesh out the provisions of the new constitution. Flexibility is essential.

Kenya’s 2010 constitution marks a critical juncture in the nation’s history. It responds to past imbalances and perceived injustice by drawing power away from the center toward the people. It is widely perceived by Kenyans from all walks of life as a new beginning, and provides a once in a generation opportunity to address diverse local needs, choices, and constraints with devolved government and reforms affecting land, rule of law, and gender. However, the enactment of legislation envisaged by the Supreme Court’s advisory to give full effect and provide mechanisms by August 2015 for the actualization of the two-thirds gender rule in elective bodies remains a pressing need. How Kenya’s newly elected executives and constituent assemblies develop, interpret, and use their authorities and the systems they establish will create the enabling environment for future stability and growth. Good governance is indispensable in providing a level playing field in terms of access to quality health and education services, energy, and water and sanitation that are critical for not only boosting the potential for economic growth but also for reducing inequality and the prevalence of extreme poverty in society.

USAID/Kenya used an ambitious participatory process of internal and external consultations in this dynamic environment to inform the CDCS Results Framework and give it a “Kenyan Voice”. Extensive internal small group discussions on the cross-cutting drivers and principles of the CDCS identifi ed three key themes – equity and equality, participation, and empowerment and five principles – youth, devolution, resilience, peace and security and gender that permeate the strategy.Eight potential development objective areas evolved from this process, which after further discussion and debate led to the three Development Objectives (DOs) that integrated working groups have refi ned into the Results Framework presented in this strategy. The internal consultations have been complemented by an equally ambitious external consultation agenda, seeking input from a wide range of public and private stakeholders, youth, women and donors on critical themes and issues related to Kenya Vision 2030, and on how the USG might best respond to the dynamics of Kenya’s current economic, social, and political reality. They almost universally identify support for devolution and implementing the constitution as the top priority for USG assistance. They also consistently reveal broad skepticism regarding the executive branch’s commitment to decentralization, the likely tensions between the national government and the counties, and the need to aggressively monitor progress on devolution and the basic assumptions of government commitment.

The Kenya CDCS Results Framework embraces the current dynamic situation with an aggressive and ambitious strategy that validates the aspirations of Kenya’s people, pursues a more mature donor relationship with Kenya’s government, and aims at achieving true transformational change. Business as usual is not an option. The situation demands more, Kenyans expect more, and USAID/Kenya is determined to respond.

Read the full report [pdf]

Last updated: October 06, 2017

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