09 May 2009

Slow Day

US set to give Kenya Sh3bn

By KEVIN J KELLEY in New YorkPosted Saturday, May 9 2009 at 18:45

Daily Nation

The United States Congress is moving toward approval of President Barack Obama’s request for $38 million (Sh3.04 billion) in supplemental aid to Kenya.

The money is intended to promote peace and reconciliation, good governance and economic development with programmes specifically targeted at the youth.

The President asked Congress last month for the additional funding for the current US fiscal year, which runs through the end of September.

A key budget committee of the House of Representatives on Thursday approved the Kenya provisions, which are part of a much larger set of proposed supplemental spending initiatives.

“The political accord following the post-election violence in 2008 has presented an unparalleled opportunity for Kenyans to address long-standing unresolved issues,” says a report accompanying Mr Obama’s proposals.

“To address the root causes of the post-election violence requires additional resources to bolster prospects for success and sustainability of the political accord, which is critical to the future stability of Kenya and, therefore, to US interests.”

The biggest part of the new package – $21.5 million (Sh1.72 billion) would support programmes targeted at the 75 per cent of young Kenyans who are unemployed or under-employed.

“Robust support will be provided to address the multiple factors that impede the ability of Kenyan youth to develop viable entrepreneurial skills, engage as citizens in local and national issues that affect them and act as positive forces for change in their communities,” observes a report to Congress by the US Agency for International Development.

The second-largest share of the funds – $13 million (Sh1.04 billion) – would be provided under the heading “Governing Justly and Democratically.” This money would be used to help implement reforms stemming from the National Accord.

Another $1.5 million (Sh120 million) is set aside for community-based and faith-based organisations as well as the National Steering Committee on Conflict Management and Peace Building. This money is intended to assist peace and reconciliation efforts

The remaining $2 million (Sh160 million) would be used to hire additional staff to facilitate the Obama Administration’s objectives.