Obama moves to protect taxpayers … in Kenya!

By Steve Peacock

The Obama administration is infusing millions of additional dollars into the stabilization and strengthening of county governments across Kenya to protect taxpayers there by having Americans foot the bill.

Without opening the endeavor to competitive bidding, the U.S. Agency for International Development simply changed the terms of an existing Kenya aid program and put more money into it.

Kenyans had been facing additional financial costs for their own local governments before the agency extended the contract by assigning new responsibilities to Development Alternatives Inc., or DAI.

But the change by USAID means that Americans, not Kenyans, will be on the hook for an additional $4.5 million for the Financial Inclusion for Rural Microenterprises, or FIRM, project

“These costs include approximately $3 million in technical assistance that FIRM would provide which the individual counties would be forced to incur without the extension,” the agency said in a Justification and Approval for Limiting Sources document that WND obtained through routine database research.

The approach follows a pattern of heightened U.S. involvement in Kenyan affairs that WND began exposing in 2012, when USAID’s self-described exponential growth in its Kenyan aid portfolio was discovered.

Follow-up coverage likewise exposed a USAID scheme to methodically sway global media to report favorably on agency activities.

A WND investigation additionally discovered a cover-up of the activity. Days after the report, the government eliminated all trace of the propaganda-plan documents from a publicly accessible database.

Coinciding with the FIRM project’s expansion – which USAID approved in January but did not reveal until March – USAID under Obama also is spending tens of millions more to determine whether its efforts in Kenya have been effective.

DAI in 2011 secured the contract for FIRM, whose aim is – or was – to promote financial-institution servicing of people “who are not traditionally served by the financial system.”

The new shift to U.S.-funded development of county investment plans will help those governments achieve greater institutional stability while improving public infrastructure and services, USAID says.

The administration sees the shift as a necessary step in Kenya’s “devolving” of centralized federal power.

The FIRM initiative simultaneously supports Obama’s multi-billion-dollar Power Africa initiative. The effort seeks to double citizen access to electricity and other power sources in sub-Saharan Africa, despite the threat of chronic governmental corruption, most notably in Kenya.

USAID said it needed to move swiftly on Kenya’s federal devolution and Obama’s power plan, which it used to further justify its decision to expand DAI’s contract.

“U.S. foreign policy would be impaired by any delay if FIRM is not able to respond to these needs,” the agency said in the document.

The U.S. Department of State considers Kenya “an important developing country partner in east Africa,” making it “a significant recipient of U.S. foreign assistance.”

The “enduring partnership” between the two nations – which began following Kenya’s independence in 1963 – is further solidified as a result of terrorist threats to the region, which the U.S. hopes to deter by providing “equipment and training to Kenyan security forces, both civilian and military.”

USAID additionally noted that its decision to stick with DAI is based on the company’s stellar performance in Kenya, where it has made significant progress is establishing relationships with Kenyan officials – particularly regarding the president’s Global Climate Change and Feed the Future initiatives.

The FIRM extension raises the program cost from about $18 million to $22.5 million. USAID will use much of that increase to hire a chief of operations to mentor and support three Kenyan managers.

An energy finance specialist “with extensive ties to U.S. financial and other international financial institutions” also must be recruited to carry out Nairobi-based operations, USAID said.

In a separate USAID initiative, WND’s recent report on a $250-million USAID personnel initiative received indirect affirmation this week from the agency, which officially released a Request for Proposals seeking bids from contractors in Global Health Initiative III.

The RFP reinforced the article’s claim that USAID was considering spending up to a quarter-billion dollars to retain just 250 contractor personnel at the Bureau for Global Health.

See WND’s reporting on Obama’s spending in Kenya:

Leave a Comment