Tag Archives: Kenya

Kenyan aims at WTO top job

Kenya’s candidate to become the next Director-General of the World Trade Organisation pledged on September 23 to integrate climate change issues into the WTO agenda if selected.

“Honoured to be selected to advance to the next round in the selection process to appoint the next WT Director General! I would like to thank all the WTO Members who entrusted me with their support. I will continue to engage with Members ahead of the next rounds” Ms.Mohamed wrote on her micro blog Twitter.

Amina Mohamed, who is the Kenya’s sports minister, progressed to the second round of selection to become the next director-general of the WTO, along with four other candidates, on September 25.

“How is it possible that the WTO does not discuss climate change?… WTO must be a part of the global conversation on climate change,” Ms.Mohamed said to an online media briefing from Geneva.

Mohamed, who was involved in the development of green financial instruments when she was the deputy head of the U.N. agency for the environment (UNEP), said she would make the WTO’s trade and environment committee active.

Maasai: from Warriors to Elders

Thousands of Maasai men with their heads coated in red ochre, and clad in traditional red and purple shawls, congregated this week for a ceremony that transforms them from Moran (warriors) to Mzee (elders).

Around 15,000 men from all over Kenya and neighbouring Tanzania gathered in Maparasha Hills in Kajiado County, 128 km from Nairobi, to feast on an estimated 3,000 bulls and 30,000 goats and sheep.

The ceremony occurs once every decade at the site, which is surrounded by hills and dotted with acacia trees.
The arrival of the novel coronavirus in March forced a postponement of the ceremony, which was meant to have been held earlier in the year.

Kenya: EU Auditors call to rethink aid

EU development aid to Kenya needs better targeting to make an impact, say Auditors
The European Commission and External Action Service (EEAS) have not demonstrated that European Development Fund (EDF) aid to Kenya between 2014 and 2020 addressed the country’s development obstacles and focused on reducing poverty, according to a new report by the European Court of Auditors (ECA). Projects funded under the previous 2008-2013 EDF delivered outcomes as expected, but have not had a visible impact on Kenya’s overall economic development. The auditors now call on the EU to rethink its approach to allocating development aid.

EU development aid is aimed at reducing and ultimately eradicating poverty in the supported countries by incentivising good governance and sustainable economic growth. The EDF is Kenya’s main source of EU funding. The aid received by the country under the 11th EDF, between 2014 and 2020, amounted to €435 million, around 0.6 % of its tax revenue. The auditors examined whether the Commission and the EEAS had targeted it effectively towards where it could contribute most to reducing poverty.
“We did not see sufficient evidence that aid under the 11th EDF is channelled to where it can do most to reduce poverty,” said Juhan Parts, the ECA Member responsible for the report. “Job creation is the most effective and sustainable way to reduce poverty, so EU funds should primarily be focused on economic development.”

The auditors found that the process of allocating EDF aid does not allow it to be linked to a country’s performance, its governance, or its commitment to structural reforms or fighting corruption. The Commission and the EEAS allocated around 90 % of Kenya’s 2014-2020 funding from the EDF using a standard formula for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, which does not address their specific development obstacles or the funding gap. The country allocations also did not take into account other donors’ grants or loans.

The aid covered only a small fraction of Kenya’s development needs and was spread across many areas, including agriculture, drought emergencies, energy and transport infrastructure, elections, public financial management and the justice system. Spreading funding over so many areas increases the risk of not reaching the necessary critical mass to achieve significant results in any single sector, warn the auditors. Furthermore, the reasoning behind the selection of sectors is not clear enough: the Commission and the EEAS did not carry out their own specific assessment of the country’s development obstacles and objectives, and did not explain how and why the supported sectors would assist most in reducing poverty.

The auditors found no reason why the Commission and the EEAS had chosen not to directly support the manufacturing sector, a sector which has great potential to create jobs.

Most funding went to food security and climate resilience (€228.5 million), where it is likely to improve the living standard of the rural communities and small farmers, particularly in dry areas, but does not help progress towards farming commercialisation and the expansion of agro-processing. Conversely, the funding provided for energy and transport infrastructure (€175 million) is too limited to achieve the very ambitious objectives agreed with the Kenyan authorities and to make a significant impact. Considering the perception of widespread corruption in the country, the auditors also argue that the EU’s direct support for measures against corruption was limited.
The auditors recommend that the Commission and the EEAS:

• examine the EU’s method for allocating funding between ACP countries and make it conditional upon the recipient country’s performance and commitment to reforms;
• assess critical mass when selecting focal sectors in Kenya, and prioritise the country’s sustainable economic development and the rule of law.

The European Development Fund (EDF) is made up of contributions from EU Member States outside the EU budget. Each EDF generally lasts from five to seven years.

Under the 11th EDF, 75 ACP countries received a total of €15 billion. The allocation was based on five indicators: population, GNI per capita, Human Asset Index, Economic Vulnerability Index, and Worldwide Governance Indicators.

Countries with large populations such as Kenya received proportionally less funding. The legal framework for EU development aid to ACP countries is the Cotonou Agreement, which expired in February 2020, with transitional measures in place until December 2020. Discussions on a successor agreement are ongoing.

Kenya’s population of 47 million in 2016 is projected to reach about 85 million by 2050. The country’s urbanisation rate is rising rapidly, creating more demand for jobs in cities. In 2016, 36% of Kenya’s population was below the poverty line, living on less than $1.90 a day, and over 20 % suffered from undernourishment. Kenya’s economy still rests on agriculture, which makes up a third of its GDP, while manufacturing remains at only 10 %, the same proportion as 40 years ago. From 2003 to 2018, Kenya’s GDP growth has been below the regional average.

Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2018 ranks it 144th out of 180 countries.

The ECA’s special report No 14/2020, “EU development aid to Kenya”, is available on the ECA’s website (eca.europa.eu) in 23 EU languages. In recent years, the ECA has issued special reports on EU support to Morocco, the EU Trust Fund for Africa, an opinion on the 11th EDF, and annual reports on the EDFs.

COVID19: Urpilainen announces €55M Kenya aid

“Team Europe stands by Kenya during Covid-19 with €55m package of support. €25m to ensure #SafeTrade at borders and to support #SMEs with affordable loans to stay afloat, €30M in budget support to #GoK to create space for priority public expenditure in response to pandemic” EU Commisisoner Jutta Urpilainen announced.

Kenyan relevant authorities announced 134 new positive cases on June 5, and 2,474 total confirmed cases, 51 new recoveries, 643 Total discharged and recovered, total 79 fatalities.

Italian hostage returned from Kenya

Liberated Italian hostage Silvia Romano landed at Rome’s Ciampino airport aboard a special flight at about 2 p.m. (1200 GMT).

Escorted by masked men from the intelligence service, young woman temporarily removed her protective mask to wave while she descended the steps from the jet before hugging family members waiting for her at the airport. “I am literally bursting with joy at this moment. But it is hard even only to think, please let me breathe. I need to withstand the shock, happiness is so big that it is exploding,” Silvia’s father Enzo was quoted as saying by several Italian media.

NGO volonteer was greeted by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the chief of Italian diplomacy Luigi Di Maio.

A group of armed men abdicted Romano, who was working for an Italian charity called Africa Milele, in northern Kenya in November 2018.

After extensive international search operations led by Italian intelligence, she was traced in Somalia, some 30 km (19 miles) outside the capital of Mogadishu, and was released due to efforts by the intelligence service, Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio underlined.

In her home neighbourhood in Milan, church bells saluted her arrival, with many people on their balconies, SKY TG24 showed.

Romano is expected to meet prosecutors in Rome later on May 10 to participate in the investigatiion case of her abdiction.

“I was strong, and resisted,” Romano was quoted by Italian media as saying publically after her release.

Prime Minister Conte said that the task force working to free Romano had been in the final stages for the last months, after receiving proof that she was still alive. The head of the government added that details were not revealed to avoid compromise of the secret service operation.

We are so glad to welcome Silvia back in such a delicate moment for the country. The State is always there, and will always be there,” Conte said.

Prime Minister expressed gratitude for the efforts of the intelligence services, the judiciary and the defence and diplomacy, all involved in the release the Italian aid worker.

Italian newspapers reported that Italy’s intelligence services had launched a vast and complicated operation together with Somali and Turkish counterparts to free Romano.

Kenya: Italian hostage liberated

President of the European Parliament David Sassoli thanked all those, involved in an operation of liberation of an Italian hostage – an NGO volunteer Silvia Romano (25) kidnapped in Kenya one and a half year ago. On his Twitter accounted Sassoli wrote that he received the news with joy, and expressed gratitude to everyone who did not “give up” working on her liberation.

On May 9 Italian Prime Minister Conte announced the liberation of an NGO worker Silvia Romano in an international operation conducted by the Italian secret services.

Silvia Romano has been freed! I thank the women and men of our intelligence services. Silvia, we are waiting for you in Italy” he wrote on Twitter micro blog.

“I was strong and I resisted. I’m fine and I can’t wait to go back to Italy” these are the first words in pubblic of the young Milanese Silvia Romano after the liberation.

The operation was directed by General Luciano Carta from the Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Esterna (External Intelligence and Security Agency), known as AISE with the collaboration of the Turkish and Somali services and took place last night.

The volunteer is now in safety in the compound of international forces in Mogadishu, Somalia. The return to Italy will take place tomorrow, at 2 pm at Ciampino airport, Rome, according to the media reports.

She is well and fit. Obviously tired by the existence of captivity but she is all right” said Raffaele Volpi president of Copasir (Parliamentary Committee that controls the operator of the secret services). “The compliments – he added – go to General Carta, to the men and women of the Aise who with their tireless work, never in the light of the limelight, have allowed this very important result. Thanks guys and welcome back home to Silvia”.

Immediately after her release, according to the Adnkronos news agency which cites intelligence sources, the young woman “had a long telephone conversation with her mother and with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte”.

On November 20, 2018, Silvia Romano, a volunteer for the NGO Africa Milele Onlus, devoted to children in fragile situation, mainly abandoned, had been kidnapped by a group of armed men in the village of Chakama, 80 kilometers from Malindi. A large scale manhunt was conducted, but without any success.

In December 2018, an information was obtained about her being alive and transported to Somalia, but since then her case was shrouded in silence.

The violence during the kidnapping – commented a police inspector in the capital Nairobi –looked more like a theatrical act. The kidnappers carried Silvia up to the almost entirely dry Athi Galana Sabaki river, which is quite close. They got across the river and got to the motorcycles they had left there. They could have acted by surprise, riding to Chakama, taking Silvia and leaving quickly. Instead they took a more complicated and difficult route where someone could have followed or recognized them. But they where able to get away.”

Three of her eight kidnappers were subsequently arrested in Kenya.

On the events of the kidnapping, however, everything remains to be established. According to the sources by the Rome prosecution she was held captive in Somalia by militia close to the Al-Shabaab jihadist group, the Somali organization affiliated to al-Qaeda, and was considered a “political hostage”.

Poachers killed white giraffe

Poachers have killed a rare white giraffe and its calf which caused a global interest after they were spotted at the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy in Garissa County,Kenya.

In a statement on March 10, the conservancy’s manager Mohammed Ahmednoor said to local media the deaths were confirmed by rangers and community members.

The carcasses were found in a skeletal state, meaning they could have died a long time ago.

“This is a very sad day for the community of Ijara and Kenya as a whole. We are the only community in the world who are custodians of the white giraffe. Its killing is a blow to tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species and a wakeup call for continued support to conservation efforts,” Mr Ahmednoor said.

The white giraffe made headlines across globe in 2017 after its discovery, with its unique white hide. It is white but not albino, because of a condition known as leucism.

Kenya: Al-Shabaab attacks U.S. base

In early monrning hours around 4 AM Al-Shabaab militants launched an attack on the Manda-Magogoni naval base in Lamu. Heavy exchange of fire is ongoing, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia confirms. (Image: sodial media).

In a brief statement the US military command for Africa, AFRICOM, confirmed there had been an attack, but did not provide any detail.

“U.S. Africa Command acknowledges there was an attack at Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya and is monitoring the situation. Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the incident. As facts and details emerge, we will provide an update.”

Militants from the Somali Islamist Shebaab group, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, launched an attack on a military base operated by American and Kenyan forces in Lamu (north of the country), near the Somali border, according to a local official Agnece France press reports. The press-release of the militants circulates in social media.

In the press-release Al-Shabaab group said the raid resulted in “severe casualties on both American and Kenyan troops stationed there.”

“The Mujahideen fighters covertly entered enemy lines, successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have now taken effective control of a part of the base,” the armed group announced.

The suicide bomber involved in the attack on Camp Simba in Manda Bay and fighters have taken control of part of the base, they claim. There are indications that plane was set on fire, while the heavy cloude of smoke has been seen from afar.

EU supports Kenya reforms

European Commission announced two new programmes totalling €31 million to boost investment and create jobs in Kenya.

“We have a close and valued partnership with Kenya, driven by common objectives and aligned with the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs and Kenya’s Big Four Agenda. I’m delighted to announce these new programmes today, which will deepen our economic partnership, boost Kenya’s economic potential, improve the investment climate, and create jobs. They are further evidence of our mutually beneficial cooperation to promote sustainable development to eradicate poverty” European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen (pictured) said in Nairobi.

The two programmes will support strategic dialogue and strengthen the EU-Kenya economic partnership:

  • €26 million will be directed at reforms of Kenya’s public finances to promote economic stability, improve service delivery and tackle poverty.
  • €5 million will target economic cooperation and national policy reforms. It will also provide technical support for implementing Kenya’s Vision 2030 and ‘Big 4′ agenda.

During her visit to Kenya, Commissioner Urpilainen held talks with, amongst others, President Uhuru Kenyatta and acting Treasury Minister Ukur Yatani to discuss future bilateral cooperation between Kenya and the EU. She also gave a keynote speech at the 9th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and met young leaders to exchange with them on political, economic and social issues and learn about their priorities for Kenya’s development. On Sunday, she visited the Kalobeyei refugee settlement, where the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa works with UN partners to ensure that refugees and the host community live together peacefully, have access to social services and develop economic ties to build sustainable livelihoods.

Tanzania ports exploited by traffickers

The vulnerabilities in maritime transportation and customs are being exploited by criminal traffickers in African sea ports. Container shipping facilitates the movement of wildlife goods, and maritime companies and their assets, wittingly or unwittingly complicit in wildlife trafficking, face legal, financial and reputation risks, according tot the Maritime Executive.

That’s the key message from a report into wildlife trafficking through Tanzania‘s ports which has been published ahead of a workshop organized in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, by TRAFFIC, UNDP and UNODC.

The report highlights wildlife trafficking through Dar of Salaam and Zanzibar. Whilst there have been no reported seizures linked to the ports since August 2015, there have been seizures of illicit wildlife products in the region of Dar es Salaam in recent years.

Tanzania is a biodiversity hotspot with one of Africa’s most significant elephant populations which have faced unprecedented levels of poaching recently. Tanzania, alongside neighboring countries, Kenya and Uganda have been implicated in this trade for the last decade, linked as source and exporters of ivory as well as transit countries for consignments gathered from elsewhere.

Along with ivory, Tanzanian’s ports have been used to move illegal products such as wildlife, timber, narcotics, arms and precious minerals. Source nations include Kenya, Malaysia, UAE, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Philippines and Taiwan, with illegal products shipped to China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

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