The Kenyan government is calling on the international community, donor groups, and development partners to buy relief food for refugees from local farmers. Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi expressed regret that Kenyan farmers have been overlooked in efforts to support refugees, resulting in their ongoing struggle to sell their produce. Mudavadi emphasized the importance of integration and supporting host communities in addressing this issue. He urged the international community and donors to prioritize purchasing from local farmers as part of their relief food packages for refugees.
Kenya currently ranks as the 13th largest refugee-hosting nation globally and the fifth largest in Africa. Mudavadi highlighted that Somalia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the top three sources of Kenya’s refugee population. The majority of refugees (84%) reside in camps, while the rest are in urban areas, including Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Eldoret.
Mudavadi acknowledged Kenya’s encampment policy in managing refugees through the Kakuma and Dadaab camps but expressed concern that it has not effectively leveraged the socioeconomic potential of refugees. The government aims to develop regulations to operationalize the Refugee Act 2021, focusing on sustainable refugee management and creating an enabling environment for socioeconomic inclusion of refugees and the resilience of host communities.
To achieve this, the government has implemented measures such as the re-gazettement of camps and the reopening of the border with Somalia. Mudavadi stressed the need to recognize the global shift in refugee management, with host countries transforming into settlements that promote self-reliance and socioeconomic contributions from refugees. Kenya aims to follow this trend by transforming refugee camps into integrated settlements and preparing refugees for voluntary repatriation.
The government has developed a Marshal Plan called the “Shirika Plan” to provide a policy and implementation roadmap for the socioeconomic inclusion of refugees. Mudavadi mentioned the Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-economic Development Plan in Turkana and the Garissa Integrated Socio-economic Development Plan as examples of such initiatives.
Mudavadi called on the international community and private sector to increase financial and technical support to promote the socioeconomic inclusion of refugees. He acknowledged that the government alone cannot meet the necessary financial and material investments required to build self-reliance and resilience among refugees and host communities. In addition to creating a conducive environment for refugees in Kenya, Mudavadi stressed the importance of pursuing viable solutions, such as ensuring peace and stability in refugees’ countries of origin.