, NAIROBI, Kenya. Mar 8 – The Japanese government has expressed it satisfaction with how Kenya has utilised development funds allocated to it.
Coming at a time when many donors have threatened to withdraw their support from several programs over accountability concerns, Japanese Ambassador Shigeo Iwatani said on Monday that they have been keeping a close watch on all the projects that they finance and are content.
“We haven’t seen any major problems mainly because our funding is in project form and we closely monitor each project. In some cases, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) experts are dispatched to the sites and thus we are able to see what is going on,” he said.
The government has been plagued with many corruption cases such as the oil, maize and education scandals. The education scam has particularly incensed the United States and the United Kingdom who have since suspended funding to the sector demanding accountability and transparency.
Japan has extended a total of Sh329 billion to Kenya since the commencement of bilateral ties between the two countries in 1963. Crown Prince Naruhito is expected in the country this week, a move the Ambassador said is an indication of the cordial relations that exist between the two countries.
Mr Itawani spoke when he signed a Sh1.4 billion grant to assist the government’s efforts to mitigate climate change effects. During the signing, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta reiterated the government’s optimism to attain a GDP growth rate of 10 percent by 2012 as envisaged in the development plan, Vision 2030.
He added that the ambitious plan required that both the private and public sector increase their investments in the economy to spur growth.
“We are convinced that we can achieve this dream as long as we all work together as a people guided by a common vision to conquer poverty and hunger in the country,” Mr Kenyatta said and pointed to the economic stimulus program that the government was spearheading.
To realise this growth, the Deputy Prime Minister acknowledged that the country would need to address the effects of climate change which are already a reality in Kenya.
He lauded the Japanese government for the assistance which was part of the pledge that it made during the Copenhagen meeting to fund programs aimed at helping developing countries to implement climate change initiatives. Sh963.8 million will go towards forestry conservation and Sh438.1 million will be set aside for drought mitigation projects.
Mr Kenyatta said the funding would go a long way in supplementing the government’s efforts to rehabilitate the country’s five water towers while the Drought Mitigation Grant would be used to enhance its drought response capacity.
The minister expressed confidence that the implementation of these projects would enable the country to increase its forest cover from the current 1.7 percent to 10 percent by 2030