Tag Archives: Kenya

Mogherini inaugurates EU mission in Nairobi

Today the European Union top diplomat – Federica Mogherini – inaugurates new premises of the EU Mission in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Delegation has the status of a diplomatic mission (Embassy or High Commission) and officially represents the European Union in Kenya. We promote the European Union’s (EU’s) values and interests, monitor the political, economic and commercial situation in the country and the region, oversee the various forms of cooperation between the EU and Kenya, and provide information about the EU’s relations with Kenya” the European External Action Service explains its mission. (Image above: Nairobi skyline).

The EU’s key values and interests can be summed up as: peace, people, prosperity, the planet, and partnership. Here in Kenya, the EU:

  • works together with Kenya, including through AMISOM, to promote peace in neighbouring Somalia;
  • supports democracy and devolution, helping to bring political power closer to ordinary people;
  • is Kenya’s biggest export market and a major source of private investment, as well as providing financing for Kenya’s infrastructure and rural development to spread greater prosperity in the country;
  • supports environmental conservation, which also has wider benefits for the planet;
  • works in partnership with Kenya both as a political partner (through regular political dialogue) and as a development partner (in coordination with other donors of assistance and the relevant Kenyan authorities).

Al-Shabaab expands into Kenya

Somali radical Islam insurgents are making their own explosives, according to a confidential U.N. report explaining their frequent and deadly attacks.

The Somali al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group al-Shabab extends attacks beyond borders, by recruiting new members outside Somali clans, luring them with promises of money and gifts.

In the beginning of this year an assault on an office and hotel complex in Nairobi (Kenya), was the first to be led by non-ethnic Somalis since al-Shabab began major cross-border operations in 2010.

Ali Salim Gichunge, nicknamed Farouk (26) leading Nairobi attacks was a Kenyan who attended a Catholic school and whose mainly Christian ethnic group Meru has no ties to Somalia.

Farouk is by no means exception among a growing number of Kenyans with no ethnic links to Somalia recruited by the militants in recent years, according to relatives, security officials and analysts.

Widespread poverty and unemployment create a nourishing ground for al-Shabaab recruiters offering cash or even just promises of work, researchers who interviewed defectors from the group report. The relatives of the young men said, even small gifts would work for engaging them.

“In the past, the security forces concentrated their efforts in parts of the country that are Muslim majority, Muslim-dominated,” said Murithi Mutiga, a project director for the International Crisis Group think-tank, he added that, “now it’s much harder because al-Shabab has shown its adaptability by recruiting from outside the traditional areas.”

As well al-Shabab has expanded its operations from Somalia into East Africa, where it has hit high-profile targets, such as the offices of Western multinational companies.

EU top diplomat to visit Horn of Africa

Federica Mogherini will begin her visit to the Horn of Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where the African Union Summit is taking place and she will meet several heads of state or government in the margins.

In Ethiopia Mogherini is due to meet President Shale Work Zwede and Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed, among other members of the government, to discuss further strengthening the EU-Ethiopia partnership.

The the EU top diplomat will also visit  funded by the bloc projects supporting the International Organisation for Migration together with Director General Antonio Vitorino.

Continuing her visit in the Horn of Africa,  Mogherini will visit Kenya, where she is due to meet President Kenyatta and members of the government. In Kenya, she will also launch a cross border programme, meet with representatives from the UN Habitat and UNEP, youth and civil society groups as well as inaugurating the new EU Delegation offices in Nairobi.

She will conclude her visit by travelling to Djibouti to meet President Ismail Omar Guelleh and other members of government, as well as visiting Member States’ military bases operating the EU ATALANTA maritime security mission.

The EU in the Horn of Africathe EU is working actively to strengthen its partnership with the region which shares many common interests with the European Union, from tackling climate change to boosting investment, to better managing migration and creating opportunities for youth.

The EU is a key partner for the region in many areas, in particular security with the three Common Security and Defence Policy missions: EUNAVFOR Atalanta maritime mission which fights piracy off the Somali coast, EUTM Somalia and EUCAP Somalia. The EU is also a key supporter of Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the regional body in the Horn of Africa.

Image: Benna people, Ethiopia

Kenya enjoys tourism sector growth

Kenya’s profit from tourism raised by almost a third in 2018 from the previous year to 157.4 billion shillings ($1.55 billion), after the number of visitors increased by 37%, the tourism ministry said.

The World Bank report 2018 on Ease of Doing Business ranks Kenya No. 80 up from No. 92 in 2017, and is expected to rise in 2019, contributing mainly to tourism sector.

However the UK government Foreign travel advice warns, that “bag snatching is common in transport hubs like bus stations, railway stations and airports. Mugging, kidnapping, car-jacking and armed robbery occur regularly, particularly in Nairobi, Mombasa and other large cities. Foreigners are not generally targeted, but incidents of violent crime have resulted in the death of several British nationals in recent years. Crime rates are higher in slum areas of Nairobi, the Old Town of Mombasa and on and around the Likoni Ferry (which links Mombasa and the southern resorts). Gun attacks in Kwale County on the south coast resulted in fatalities in September and October 2017. You should be vigilant at all times and follow any security advice given by your employer or your hosts.”

Kenya Olympics replaced ritual lion hunting

Kenyan warriors of young generation are no longer pursuing lions to show off their hunting prowess and bravery, they are competing for monetary prizes in javelin throwing at the Maasai Olympics instead.

We have changed the outdated lion hunting culture, as there was a time before the Maasai Olympics when we were killing animals, but now we are protecting them as we coexist in harmony,” 22-year-old Moran Joseph Tipape Lekatoo said.

Lekatoo was competing for his Mbirikani Manyatta group in the fourth edition of the Maasai Olympics, where youthful morans, or warriors, from four Manyattas (settlements) — Rombo, Mbirikani, Kuku and Elselengei — gather to compete.

If you compare me to the past warriors, they used to go and kill lions and that does not help you in anyway,” said Moses Ntimama, another warrior and participant in the Olympics at the Sidai Oleng Wildlife Sanctuary at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, near Kenya’s border with Tanzania.

Government-run Kenya Wildlife Services informs there are about 2,000 lions in the East African country, and the biggest threat to them and other carnivores is conflict with humans.

 

 

EU programmes for Horn of Africa

The European Commission has adopted eleven new programmes for the Horn of Africa under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

 

“These new EU programmes, worth over €134 million in all, will help to create lasting solutions for refugees and internally displaced people, as well as support vulnerable host communities in a region that hosts the largest number of refugees in Africa – 4.5 million. Our existing programmes have already yielded substantial results, but the Trust Fund’s resources are quickly depleting. If we want to keep delivering, its resources have to be replenished.” Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said.

Six programmes, worth €65 million, have been approved to support the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. This initiative is being piloted by several countries in the region; it helps refugee populations become self-sufficient and supports host communities.

  • In Djibouti, an €8 million programme will help integrate refugees into the country’s social protection systems, which cover health, education and employment rights.
  • In Kenya, a €17.8 million programme will boost asylum management, bolster economic self-reliance among refugees and host communities in Garissa County, and further support the development of the Kalobeyei settlement.
  • A €10 million programme in Sudan will fund educational support for refugee children, most of whom come from South Sudan.
  • A second programme, worth €3 million, will provide assistance to South Sudanese refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • In Uganda, an €18 million programme will improve people’s access to reliable information, training and to the justice system, including legal aid, counselling services and mobile courts.
  • In Ethiopia and Uganda, an €8.2 million Urban Displacement Pilot will encourage regional exchanges of experience and expertise to tackle the rising challenge of urban displacement.

Four national programmes have also been approved.

  • A new programme in Ethiopia worth €33.5 million will make households, communities and local authorities better equipped to manage, respond and adapt to disasters like drought and conflict.
  • In Sudan we are working to link humanitarian and development activities closer together to respond better to protracted crises. A €10 million programme will support forcibly displaced people and host communities in West Kordofan, building on the Commission’s existing humanitarian activities.
  • Another €15 million programme will address nutrition and food security issues in Sudan’s Red Sea State.
  • In South Sudan, a €5 million programme will contribute towards building lasting peace and reconciliation in the country.

Last but not least, a new €5 million regional programme will make better use of financial investigation and anti-money laundering tools to disrupt human trafficking and smuggling networks.

Two existing programmes have received additional funds: The Research and Evidence Facility will receive an additional €2.5 million, and an extra €3 million will be channelled into budget support for Somalia.

The total number of programmes adopted since December 2015 for the Horn of Africa region now comes to 69, with an overall value of €1.28 billion.

China trade in donkey hides devastates communities

Describing the scale of the animal abuse in Chinese trade in donkey hides and its devastating impact for local communities in developing countries, especially in Africa, the Members of the European Parliament called for an urgency of action to protect the equidae as an indefensible contributor to harmonious rural lifestyle.

During the European Parliament Strasbourg Plenary MEPs of the EU Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals considered the welfare of equines – horses, donkeys and hybrids, largely neglected within the existing laws and suffering abuses in Europe, however it is the Chinese traditional medicine, which causes the most abhorrent practices, with systemic torturing and killing of donkeys in pursue of their precious hides. Some farms in Europe also act as suppliers of donkey hides for China, however their activities are far too small to cover the huge demand of Chinese traditional medicine, looking for the animals all over the world, including the poorest villages in Africa, where people depend on donkeys for transport of water and goods.

Chaired by Jacqueline Foster MEP (ECR, UK),  the hearing featured speakers from World Horse Welfare, The Donkey Sanctuary and BrookeAction for Working Horses and Donkeys shared the numerous problems of equines welfare in the EU and worldwide, especially abhorrent abuses of donkeys in Chinese trade.

The Intergroup focused on the trade of donkey hides and the social, economic, and welfare problems that it raises. Ian Arthur Cawsey, UN Ambassador at The Donkey Sanctuary, explained the threat this trade represents, causing a global crisis for donkeys welfare, and even more so for people who depend on them.

During the last decades, China has seen the demand for donkey skins explode to produce ‘ejiao’, a substance used in traditional medicine, health and beauty products. Currently, the Chinese demand is assessed around 4 million donkey skins a year. As the result the global trade in animals increases, and donkeys are being traded and stolen all around the world.

However, these animals support the livelihood of 500 million people across the world and some of the world’s poorest communities. When donkeys are sold or stolen, the additional burden of taking on their work often falls on the most vulnerable members of the society: children and women. “If you have no donkey, you are a donkey yourself“, explains the Ethiopian proverb, hinting on animal key function in fulfilling daily hard work.

Since the skin is valued so much more than the meat, the premature death of the donkeys from deprivation of food and water is actually considered  by Chinese traders as ‘helpful’. The cruel practices also raise serious concerns for public health and the environment, while the growing Chinese demand for donkey skins clearly will never lead to regulated, humane or sustainable production practices.

Petra Ingram, Chief Executive Officer of the Brooke – Action for Working Horses and Donkeys, and Dr. Jennifer Wathan, Senior Manager, gave a presentation on the local impact of the trade in donkey hides on livelihoods in Africa, advocating to think global and act local. A donkey is a valuable asset that provides multiple essential functions to a household. The growing Chinese trade of donkey skins therefore deeply impacts poorest communities in Africa.

Donkeys provide a huge contribution in developing countries all over the world. For example, every day a donkey earns users and owners in Kenya between $5-12, doing tasks such as collecting water, carrying goods to market or in farming. Loss of a donkey not only results in that income being jeopardised, but also increases the burden on families to carry out manual work themselves. Our research shows that vulnerable people are particularly affected, especially women and the elderly who use their donkeys for daily chores and transportation. This can even keep children out of school” Petra Ingram said.

“We hope that highlighting this issue to the MEPs who attended or observed online today will prompt more research, and ultimately bring us closer to tackling the devastating effects of an unregulated trade in donkey hides. Brooke has made some progress, but this is a global crisis, too large for us and other charities to tackle in isolation, so we must work together to raise awareness and gather more evidence to support positive change for the donkeys and the people who depend on them,” Ingram concluded.

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