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Denmark - Kenya: Partnership policy 2021-2025

Executive Summary

Kenya’s geographical position on the Horn of Africa and as an entrance to the East African market provides the country with strong opportunities and yet difficult challenges. Long term instability at the Horn of Africa has seen Kenya suffer problems with man-made humanitarian disasters in areas that are also affected by droughts. Since the terror attack against Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in 2013 Kenya has been the target for an increasing number of terror attacks often related to al-Shabaab. Problems rooted in neighbouring countries have a severe spill-over effect into Kenya. Kenya has taken up these challenges by comprehensive reforms and development of the social sectors, military engagement, humanitarian cooperation and through active diplomacy seeking to find national and regional solutions. Denmark has since Kenya’s independence maintained close ties and has under changing governments and different political climates played a decisive role in support of important results within both poverty reduction and democratic development. But more needs to be done. The new constitution from 2010 with a separation of the legislative, executive and judicial arms of government, a bill of rights and a devolution of power to 47 newly established counties, provides a foundation for a government reform and transition process that holds the potential for finding solutions to deep rooted conflicts and developing a more cohesive, politically stable and rule based Kenya with a deeper involvement of the population in political decision-making. The reform process also holds the potential for high and broad-based economic growth. Women are still marginalised in political, social and economic life. Poverty oriented development engagements and the inclusion of women in both the formal and informal sectors aims to change this. The ambitious articles in the constitution about gender equality are in line with international standards, and represents enormous normative progress that are to be put into practice to improve living conditions and empowerment of women. Amidst these opportunities Kenya is faced with serious domestic problems including high levels of inequality and poverty, and critical challenges due to climate change. To spur higher and sustained inclusive economic growth, Kenya needs to address these issues.

The objectives for Denmark’s future engagement will be to support the Kenyan population in advancing inclusive green growth, poverty reduction, support the democratic reform process and promote the respect for human rights. Furthermore, it will be an objective in its own right to strengthen trade and commercial relations between Kenya and Denmark as-well-as the objective of stability and security in Kenya and the wider region. With Kenya’s economic rise towards becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2030, the Kenya-Denmark partnership is increasingly becoming mutually beneficial. A strengthened cooperation in the area of trade and economic cooperation forms along with development cooperation and strengthened cooperation on stability and security the background for Kenya’s continuous role as an important partner country for Denmark.