UK donates $41m to boost Kenya's green projects

Thursday February 10 2022
A tree planting drive at Kaptagat Forest in Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya on July 23, 2021.

A tree planting drive at Kaptagat Forest in Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya, on July 23, 2021. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


Kenya’s solar and reforestation projects have received a grant of Ksh4.7 billion ($41.3 million) from the UK.

This will boost Nairobi’s efforts to reverse forest loss and land degradation, and achieve full transition to renewable energy by 2030 as pledged in COP26 last year.

The donation was made in partnership with UK-backed Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the Eliud Kipchoge Foundation, during an event to launch a $660,000 reforestation project of Kaptagat Forest in Elgeyo Marakwet, Rift Valley region of Kenya on Wednesday.

The donation includes a $34.3 million funding for the Kesses Solar Project, a 55-megawatt peak clean energy project in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu, in Kenya’s Rift Valley region.

It is projected to improve access to energy for thousands of people and create over 400 jobs.

“This [Greening Kaptagat] project and the investment in the Kesses Solar Project will help Kenya achieve its vision of 10 percent tree cover by 2030, and provide new green jobs for local people,” said Mike Foster, head of mutual prosperity and climate change at the British High Commission in Nairobi.


Another $7 million from the donation will fund private projects focused on restoring degraded and deforested land in the country, through a call for proposals launched at the same event.

Kenya had received a donation of $1.36 million in January to mitigate the effects of extreme drought and floods, as part of London’s commitment to double their overall climate finance available for adaptation programmes made in Glasgow last year.

With this funding, more than a thousand people living in the Kaptagat forest landscape will benefit from the interventions which aim at mitigating unsustainable agricultural practices, illegal logging, overgrazing, forest encroachment, and charcoal production, the British High Commission said in a statement.

The funding will supplement the government’s efforts to increase Kenya’s forest cover from the current 6.9 percent to the constitutional threshold of 10 percent by the end of this year.

Deforestation has been a major problem in Kenya, with the Global Forest Watch estimating that the country has lost its tree cover by over 11 percent since 2000, bringing down total tree cover to about 29,200 square kilometres.