Uhuru warns donors against using aid to destabilise states
Wednesday April 18 2018
- The President, who is on a five-day visit to the UK, was speaking at the institute on what he said were the three main areas of modern partnerships between developing countries like Kenya and those of the developed world like the UK.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday cautioned development partners against using foreign aid to support policies that could destabilise nascent democracies.
In a speech delivered at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London, the President said the developed world must be sensitive to the changing nature of governance to prevent their aid from eroding the stability of the countries they help.
Fighting terrorism, enhancing trade and channelling development funds to projects that can create jobs for the youth should be the definitive function of rich-poor relations in the modern world, he said.
“Your praiseworthy international aid expenditure must never contribute to the instability of democratic rule,” he said. “There are too many risks and pitfalls in today’s world without friends adding to it, even if these actions are founded on noble intent.”
The President, who is on a five-day visit to the UK, was speaking at the institute on what he said were the three main areas of modern partnerships between developing countries like Kenya and those of the developed world like the UK.
And while President Kenyatta did not cite any country, he told the audience of how some countries, by giving development aid to poorer nations, had taken advantage of the political situation to further cause chaos.
“There is today a temptation for some in the mainstream governing parties to seek political advantage in extreme positions that erode unity, a sense of national purpose and paint compromise as betrayal,” he said. “They seek a permanently divided body politic, and non-stop political campaigning at the expense of countries doing the hard work of building prosperity.”
UK International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who together with President Kenyatta opened trading at the London Stock Exchange, announced funding to help developing countries raise investment from global capital markets in their own currencies, promoting investment and job creation.
“Healthy financial markets create opportunities for new investment, trade and jobs, playing a critical role in delivering the global prosperity that benefits us all. What’s more, financial markets open the door to a future free from aid dependency,” Ms Mordaunt said.
The UK is one of Kenya’s main donors with projects ranging from trade enhancement to election preparedness and some localised health programmes as well as relief to drought-stricken people.
Together with the US and EU, the UK indirectly funds electoral preparedness programmes in Kenya through a programme called “strengthening electoral processes in Kenya”, managed by the UNDP. It is worth $24 million (Sh2.5 billion) and has been running since 2016.
In the 2018/19 financial year, the UK Department of Foreign and International Development estimates it could spend as much as £98.7 million (about Sh14.2 billion) on health, governance, relief and education programmes. The UK is also one of the biggest investors in Kenya with 220 British firms operating in the country.
The President is returning o to the UK for the third time since he took office in 2013. And like on his first visit when he attended a conference on Somalia, he called for more focus on terrorism, which he termed a big threat to civil liberties.
“We must continue to work together to defeat terrorist groups that threaten our people and our countries. Much more coordination and collaboration can be achieved. But we must go even further. The violence employed by terrorists is an extension of their ideas. They daily announce their intention to destroy democracy and usher in an age of fanaticism and religious tyranny,” he said.
“We must make it harder for the anti-democratic, hate-filled fanatics who are organising against liberty and trying to turn our citizens into hateful, violent extremists.”
The President said the UK, like its peers, can use its position as a member of the UN Security Council to pass stringent policies against terrorism, rather than merely condemning attacks whenever they happen.
At the start of his administration, President Kenyatta often criticised the West for choosing to impose travel advisories on Kenya whenever there was a terror attack. On Tuesday, he reiterated terrorism and its effects transcend borders.
“We can work together to build stronger initiatives to prevent recruitment into terrorism,” he said. “As long as there is great poverty and desperation in Africa, and other parts of the world, African refugees will seek entry into Europe in their millions. Our poverty will lead to your instability.”