Rooted in the basic philosophy of the Harambee spirit (pulling together), multilateralism and in aspiring to contribute to a “just, peaceful and equitable world” through innovative diplomacy, Kenya’s foreign policy (November 2014) has laid down the broad tenets of its international engagements and partnerships.
Kenya plays a key role in regional peace processes such as those in South Sudan, Great Lakes and the AU Peace & Security Council. As a member of IGAD, Kenya has been in the forefront of development and implementation of the regional resilience framework. Kenya hosts over 565,000 refugees, mainly in Dadaab and Kakuma, two of the largest refugee camps worldwide. The engagement of Kenyan diplomats in the CERF Advisory Group and in key appointments such as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on El Nino is indicative of Kenya’s capacity and willingness to play a stronger role in multilateral humanitarian affairs. This has been further strengthened through the active participation of Kenya in global processes such as the Sendai DRR and the World Humanitarian Summit at the highest executive levels – of the President and Deputy President respectively.
The political will is matched by its ability to deliver. Kenya has graduated to the rank of a Lower Middle Income Country. The achievement of MIC status generates expectations of support from other countries. This natural regional leadership role is consolidated and enhanced through delivery of timely and strategic assistance and discharge of responsibilities commensurate with stature and standing.
As a strong economic growth pole with significant technical capacity, expert human resources and technology, Kenya is well placed to deliver quality assistance and rally political support. As it envisages and prepares to do this in a more structured and strategic way, the various institutions and capacities must pull their weight together collectively and in a coordinated manner. For the Kenyan footprint to be optimally visible and recognized, optimal use of its political, technical, material, military and financial resources and appropriate channels of delivery must be identified.
Governance and administration of Kenyan assistance must be anchored within a humanitarian diplomacy pillar as an integral tool of its foreign policy and embedded within national development and security goals. Underpinning this broad framework is the broader perspective to:
Establish Kenya as a preferred partner of choice and first port of call for assistance for countries affected by disasters or protracted crises in the region
Position Kenya to deliver and amplify unified pan-African messages in international fora
Gaining trust and recognition in wider diplomatic and inter-governmental circles as a fulcrum for economic development, enterprise, peace and stability in the continent through leadership and drive demonstrated in the humanitarian sector.
MOFA in partnership with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Africa Policy Institute (API) undertook a series of consultations with all relevant stakeholders to inform the development of a strategic humanitarian assistance framework that would guide the direction and administration of Kenya’s international assistance. A draft following the focus group discussions is under development and will be validated by stakeholders in 2017.