Kenya is set to benefit from an additional Ksh7.8-billion-shilling ($78 million) grant from the European Union (EU) that will go towards addressing the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 in the country.
The funding, which adds to an earlier Ksh8.4 billion ($84 million), will go towards helping Kenyans at risk of hunger and further strengthen State measures against spread of the pandemic.
While making the announcement in a statement sent to newsrooms, EU Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue said the funding indicates the EU's support to Kenya at a time when the virus has so far infected 2,862 people and killed another 85.
“The European Union stands with Kenya during this challenging period and we recognise the severe impact this crisis is having on people’s lives. Through these support programmes, we are making a real difference to local communities across the country as well as in Nairobi’s informal settlements who are most affected by the outbreak,” he said.
Ambassador Mordue further noted that the support programme was part of an overall 'Team Europe' response that has seen the EU and its member States working closely to support Kenya during the pandemic.
So far, the European Union has contributed more than Ksh35 billion ($350 million) to the country’s Covid-19 response measures, with other EU member States having contributed a further Ksh3.3 billion ($33 million) for the same.
Last month, the EU announced a Ksh2.4 billion ($24 million) funding from European countries to assist in the fight against locusts as well as support affected farmers.
Out of the Ksh7.8 billion ($78 million) to be disbursed to Kenya, Ksh3.6 billion ($36 million) will be allocated towards mobilising resources in containing the spread and impact of Covid-19 in the health, social and economic sectors. The EU noted that this will be provided through budgetary support to the government.
Ksh1.2 billion ($12 million) will be directed towards vulnerable families and individuals in informal settlements through monthly cash transfers. However, the EU notes that careful measures will be put in place to ensure there are no dubious recipients and that health services are provided to the most vulnerable people.
As the fund is geared towards mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic, the Union has allocated between Ksh2.4 billion to Ksh3 billion ($24 million to $30 million) to supporting small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through providing access to finance.
“This will provide SMEs with short-term working capital, which is essential for them to continue operating and keep Kenyans in jobs; later this will stimulate investments for the post-Covid-19 recovery,” the statement read in part.
The European Union further noted that the remaining Ksh600 million ($6 million) will be allocated directly to the Safe Trade Emergency Facility, stating that it remains a critical supply chain for trade and will ensure food security and access to critically required medicines.
“At the same time the support will make the borders and the ports safer to counter the spread of Covid-19.”