Highlighted results

Increased awareness of rights, access to justice and provision of legal aid, and legal empowerment.

More than 5,500 family farms with increased productivity and/or income.

Local financing mechanisms for drinking water and sanitation developed.

Improved market access, sustainable trade and increased investment. At least six Dutch companies started a business or expanded in Kenya.

Additional sources

Development Strategy of Kenya

Third medium-term plan

Development Strategy of Kenya

Big Four action plan

UNDAF 2018-2022

Programme of the United Nations in Kenya

Aiddata RVO

Information on Netherlands Enterprise Agency projects in Kenya

EU Joint Cooperation Strategy

Strategy for co-operation with Kenya from EU and EU member states present in Kenya

World Bank

Latest World Bank information on its work in Kenya

Open Aid

Information on Dutch-funded projects in Kenya


The relationship between the Netherlands and Kenya is transitioning from aid to trade. The programme combines trade and investment promotion, benefiting both the Dutch and Kenyan private sector, while encouraging corporate social responsibility and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition, the programme supports a limited number of projects in Food and Nutrition Security and Water and provides support to civil society with particular attention for human rights and access to justice.

Kenya, which is strategically located in East Africa, is seen by Dutch investors and entrepreneurs as a country with many economic opportunities. It is a relatively innovative country with a good information technology infrastructure and a well-educated and dedicated workforce. Dutch businesses benefit from flexible funds for private sector development management from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, including the Dutch Good Growth Fund, as well as from the long-standing Dutch presence in sectors relevant to Kenya’s Big Four development objectives (Affordable Housing, Food Security, Manufacturing and Universal Health Coverage).

The tense situation surrounding the elections in Kenya in 2017 had an impact on the programme and several activities were postponed. In this reporting period, political tensions eased, economic growth picked up and inflation stabilised. However, unsustainable debt levels, unfair competition and security threats remain causes for concern and still had an effect on the Dutch programme in Kenya.

Results 2018

The relatively small amounts of investment in innovative models like the SDG platform and the Kenya Innovative Finance Facility for Water (KIFFWA) promise to show even more results in the future. In another project, support to a water company reduced the loss of water in the system by 40% and provided 70,000 people with access to safe drinking water.

In Food and Nutrition Security, the programme supported the reduction of food losses, improvement of food safety and helped to open up domestic and export markets to farmers. As most of this programme was close to completion, the focus was on sustainability measures and scaling-up models.

The Security and Rule of Law programmes supported increased access to justice and awareness of the law and rights through the provision of legal aid, legal empowerment and judicial reforms. An additional 12,000 people received legal aid. Moreover, the programme supported initiatives to improve the business climate in Kenya and strengthen commercial courts.

Results by theme

Private sector development Water Food security Security and Rule of Law

Featured project Kenya

Kenya Market Led Aquaculture Programme (KMAP)

The Kenya Market-led Aquaculture Programme (KMAP) is implemented by FarmAfrica in co-operation with BopInc, WorldFish, Programma Uitzending Managers (PUM) and Larive International, and is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its overall goal is to contribute to the improved competitiveness of the Kenya aquaculture sector and an improved business and investment climate.

Details of this project on OpenAid and RSR.AKVO

Read more about the KMAP project on OpenAid and FarmAfrica

Private sector development

The results in context

Kenya’s economic growth prospects picked up after a period of prolonged drought and a tense political situation around the elections. Because of this, combined with non-transparent import regulations and logistical challenges in the transport of goods, the private sector experienced a difficult period. However, Dutch companies remain interested in Kenya and optimistic about the country’s long-term economic prospects. This was evidenced by an increase in exports from the Netherlands and by an increase in the number of registered Dutch companies in Kenya, reaching more than 150 in this reporting period, up from 68 in 2008.

Improvement of the business climate in Kenya is high on the agenda and the Embassy continued its support for IFC projects focusing on streamlining relevant laws and regulations. This partly contributed to a higher ranking of Kenya in the ‘ease of doing business index’ (from 80 to 61) in 2018. The IFC and the Netherlands were among the partners that were recognised for their contribution to this result.

The SDG Partnership Platform was officially launched with the purpose of facilitating the involvement of the private sector in realising the SDGs through public-private partnerships (PPP) and innovative financing models. The initial focus is on SDG3 ‘Access to Healthcare’. The first PPPs in Healthcare as result of the platform are expected in 2019.

The Sustainable Inclusive Business (SIB) organisation in Kenya, founded by ‘MVO Nederland’ (Corporate Social Responsibility Netherlands) encourages this type of responsibility among Dutch and Kenyan companies. The organisation is part of the Kenyan private sector umbrella lobby group. Whereas the SIB mainly raised awareness in the past, more companies and organisations were approaching SIB for advice on their CSR policy and the creation of partnerships. This resulted in five consultancy assignments for corporate social responsibility, 21 partnership organisations reaching out to SIB and 17 events with a match-making component.


The results in context

Kenya faces water security problems. Almost 80% of its land area is classified as arid to semi-arid and this is further aggravated by climate change. The Kenya National Water master plan estimates that annual investment of more than USD 2 billion is needed over the coming years to address these issues. The government budget alone cannot cover these investments. Kenya has thus been at the forefront of innovative financing of infrastructure for water, including blending various public and private sources.

In this context, the Kenya Innovative Financing Facility in the Water Sector (KIFFWA) acts as a co-developer of water initiatives by providing financial support and technical advice to initiatives in the Kenyan water sector (drinking water, infrastructure, water management, water sanitation and hygiene).

KIFFWA identified 18 initiatives in different regions and sub-sectors. The selected projects have a combined value of EUR 578 million. The results will be incorporated in future reports as projects are currently still in the development stage.

Support to a water company reduced the loss of water in the system by 40% and provided 70,000 people with access to safe drinking water.

Food security

The results in context

The agro-food sector accounts for 65% of export earnings and provides an income for more than 80% of the Kenyan population. The Netherlands supported the agro-food sector through its food security projects in three value chains in which the Netherlands has comparative advantages (‘from farmer to market’ in the sectors of horticulture, including potatoes) dairy and aquaculture. This has contributed to the better functioning of these value chains. The chains are market-led and pay specific attention to food safety, post-harvest losses and commercialisation.

The food security projects continue to strengthen market access and implement projects and programmes along the value chain. This means working with farmer groups on building their administrative skills and capacity for good agricultural practices and on increasing their yields and efficiency with the aim of reducing their production costs. Veterinary support, seed suppliers and feed manufacturers as well as cold storage, are included to improve revenues. During farmer field days, market linkages were identified.

In the three projects, approximately 18,000 farmers managed to improve their income and/or production. More than 11,000 farmers gained better access to inputs and/or markets, which also indirectly resulted in better incomes. As most of these food security projects are almost at an end, additional efforts have been made to ensure sustainability and develop scaling-up models. The clustering of business cases in the horticulture sector increases their impact by providing better access to markets and finance, and greater bargaining power to influence policies and regulations. The aquaculture project brought fish farmers together to introduce a method of production that ensures a continuous fish supply.

Security and Rule of Law

The results in context

Access to justice is a basic right guaranteed under Article 48 of the Kenyan Constitution. However, many people, in particular women and the poor, face significant challenges in this respect. The main reasons for this are lack of knowledge, complicated court procedures and the high cost of legal representation. The Netherlands focused on programmes with the objective to increase awareness of rights and the law by providing legal aid, legal empowerment and judicial reforms. This increased the number of people with access to quick and fair justice, specifically women.

The programme supported institutions providing legal aid and raising awareness through innovative mechanisms that improved their institutional capacity. For example, partners Kituo cha Sheria and the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights (KNCHR) developed and implemented mobile phone applications. These were used to present legal complaints and provide legal aid without having to visit or hire a lawyer. Through support to Kituo’s mobile platform ‘M-Haki’ and KNCHR’s SMS Platform, more than 5,700 people were able to make use of legal support.

Legal aid was also provided to more than 6,500 people through eight community and eight prison justice centres. Of this total, 77% were from the target group women and/or poor. The issues dealt with were disputes involving land, inheritance and matters related to marriage. Paralegals trained by Kituo assisted poor people in prison who could not afford legal representation. Legal aid in prisons also contributed to solving bottlenecks by dismissing cases, reviewing sentences and providing access to affordable bails and bonds. Other legal problems were resolved through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). For instance, KNCHR used ADR to resolve the long-standing land dispute between herders and ranchers in the county of Laikipia. The Amkeni Wakenya programme used ADR to resolve succession and inheritance matters, which often take a very long time to resolve through formal court processes. The use of public interest litigation by the organisations AFRIGOC (African Centre for Democratic Governance) and KNCHR was also successful in resolving a total of 29 legal problems, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) cases, as well as those filed to safeguard rights and fundamental freedoms.

Support was given to strengthen the judiciary through the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO). IDLO initiated reforms that improved and simplified the processes and procedures of the Judiciary by making them more user friendly, thereby enabling people seeking justice (in particular women) to access courts. With the Netherlands’ support, a strengthened Judiciary led to a considerable improvement in the rate of cases being concluded. Experiments in handling disputes by mediation outside court resolved 182 of the 292 cases filed around divorce, maintenance (alimony), succession and inheritance. Mainly women benefited from this. The improved operations of the Judiciary led to increased public confidence in this institution from 51% to 68% (notably higher than other public sector institutions).

Jeroen van Loon

Background and future Kenya


In some cases, the prolonged election period in 2017 resulted in a delay in the implementation of projects funded by the Netherlands. For instance, it took more time for the Kenya Innovative Facility for Water (KIFFWA) to identify sufficient suitable projects. In general, however, projects were on track. The business climate in Kenya remained difficult but Kenya’s position in the ‘ease of doing business index’ improved. The authorities considered this partly a result of the Dutch-supported IFC project.

Glimpse into the future

In the Dutch policy paper ‘Investing in Global Prospects (2018)’, Kenya is mentioned as an important partner in the focus region of the Horn of Africa. The new multi-annual country strategy will guide the work of both the Ministry in The Hague and the Embassy in Nairobi. It also builds on the Dutch Integrated International Security Strategy (2018-2022), the migration policy and a consultation with partners from civil society and the private sector. The new strategy has been aligned with Kenya’s priorities and the European Joint Programming Strategy, and is characterised by a mixture of trade and investment promotion and support for sustainable development.

Possible support to overcome the challenges of climate change will be considered, especially in the arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya, and the link between Food and Nutrition Security and Climate will also be examined.

Kenya is host to approximately 500,000 refugees, many of which are long term. Some refugee communities in Kenya are already in their third generation. In addition, there is a risk of radicalisation within marginalised groups of the Kenyan population, posing a security threat to national, regional and global stability. Work will continue both on improving the refugees’ situation and on preventing violent extremism.

Additional sources

Countries page on Dutch government site

Page on current policy towards Kenya

Facebook page

Follow the Embassy of Kenya on Facebook


Follow the Embassy of Kenya on Twitter

Embassy of Kenya website

Visit the Embassy of Kenya website

Results Water

Download PDF with results for Water in Kenya

Results Food security

Download PDF with results for Food security in Kenya

Results Security and Rule of Law

Download PDF with results for Security and Rule of Law in Kenya

Expenditure by channel


Expenditure by theme