Press Release: Published: 3 August 2012
The European Union has approved a project that will help the government of Kenya to build and rehabilitate rural roads, thus contributing to job creation. A second project will enhance the competitiveness of Kenyan products through improved standards and regulations, as well as training of authorities, which will lead to more and better exports. Today's decision amounts to a total of €31.95 million.
EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, said: "With this funding we join the government of Kenya in pursuing its goal of transforming the country into a middle-income economy. The projects will have an immediate effect on the lives and economic situation of many Kenyans. A functioning transport system and the right environment for trade are essential components for sustainable growth which will benefit all sections of society."
Specifically, the EU Rural Roads Rehabilitation Project (total project cost €20 million; EU contribution €15 million) will support Kenya's roads maintenance plan (2010–2017). The target is the rehabilitation and construction of over 4,000 km of roads, and setting up routine maintenance for around 38,000 km. Potentially, the project will create full-time jobs for more than 11,000 people for the duration of five years. The construction and renovation works will contribute to reduce local unemployment, and will focus particularly in improving women and disabled people's access to the job market (at least 33% of this work will be given to women and 2% to disabled people).
The EU support will finance upgrading of 160 km of rural roads involving local small-scale contractors. The project will make rural agricultural areas more accessible and reduce local travel times by 50%.
The overall objective is to reduce transport costs and travel time, as well as improve road safety and thereby facilitate higher economic growth, employment and improved living standards. As part of this effort, a well-managed network of safe rural roads will be created in five regions of the Eastern Province of Kenya.
In addition, the so-called Standards and Market Access Programme (€12.1 million) will help to increase the volume, diversity and competitiveness of Kenyan exports. It supports national efforts to enhance food safety standards and regulations for Kenyan plant and animal-based products. The project will also train Kenyan authorities on relevant testing and certification of these products.
Another €5 million will be provided to all other sectors covered by EU programming to ensure that EU projects are well-planned and executed.
These three projects are funded under the 10th European Development Fund, which grants close to €400 million to Kenya over the period 2008 – 2013 to support regional economic integration, focussing on transport infrastructure and the agricultural sector. Additional assistance is given for trade, governance and capacity building.