Kenya has been hosting refugees since 1970 with the numbers increasing significantly from 1990 onwards due to the influx of refugees from Somalia and South Sudan. Kenya currently hosts 468,910  refugees making it one of the biggest refugee-hosting countries in Africa after Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia. The majority of the refugees originate from Somalia (54%) and South Sudan (24%) with the remainder from Democratic Republic of Congo (8%), Ethiopia (7%), Sudan, Rwanda, Eritrea, Burundi and Uganda (7% in total).
44% of the refugees in Kenya reside in Dadaab refugee camp in the East near the Somali border, 40 % live in Kakuma and Kalobeyei settlement in the North-West near the border with South Sudan and 16 % in urban areas (mainly Nairobi).
On 19 September 2016, all 193 Member States of the UN General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and its Annex I, the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). The following day, at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, the Government of Kenya committed to enhance refugees’ self-reliance and inclusion, specifically by pledging  to:
Building on the pledges made by the Government at the Leaders’ Summit, the formal application of the CRRF in Kenya was announced following the 68th Session of UNHCR’s Executive Committee in October 2017. Among the progressive steps that followed the formal announcement as CRRF country is the inclusion of refugees in the draft County Integrated Development Plans (CIDP) of Turkana and Garissa; and the eligibility missions hosted for the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) 18 sub-window for refugees. The new UN Development Assistance Framework 2018-2022 (UNDAF), which is aligned with Kenya’s national development priorities and the President’s Big Four agenda for the same period for the first time also fully integrates refugees and stateless persons as target populations of the Plan.
In addition to applying comprehensive responses to refugee movements inside its borders, Kenya has played a pivotal role in regional efforts to pursue a common approach for the Somali refugee situation. In March 2017, the Government hosted the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD) Special Summit on the protection and durable solutions for Somali refugees and reintegration of returnees in Somalia, where all IGAD Member States adopted the Nairobi Declaration on Durable Solutions for Somali Refugees and Reintegration of returnees in Somalia (also known as the Nairobi Declaration). Kenya participated in IGAD’s first inter-ministerial thematic meeting with a focus on Education, where IGAD Member States adopted the Djibouti Declaration on Regional Refugee Education, committing to refugee inclusion in national systems across the region by 2020. In March 2018, Kenya’s Refugee Affairs Secretariat which acts as the focal point for the CRRF roll-out in Kenya, shared the draft of its national action plan to implement the Nairobi Declaration as part of the CRRF Road Map. The draft CRRF Road Map is currently subject to internal consultations within various line ministries and national and county authorities. Building on the IGAD’s Djibouti Declaration on regional refugee education (December 2017), the Ministry of Education is also developing a Refugee Education Inclusion Policy. The whole of society –approach is actively applied to the CRRF in Kenya with a broad number of stakeholders actively engaged, as witnessed during the recent workshop organized by civil society in May 2018.
The draft Turkana and Garissa County Integrated Development Plans, which guide all development activities in Turkana and Garissa County for the period 2018-2022, now include refugees. If adopted by the county assemblies later in June, this will set a precedent for greater inclusion of refugees in development plans, in the spirit of comprehensive responses.
The needs of refugees and stateless persons are now reflected in draft Kenya 2018-2022 UNDAF. In line with the principle of “leave no one behind” embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals, refugees are now included under all three pillars of the UNDAF (political, social and economic).
The World Bank is among key partners to support comprehensive responses in Kenya. The already ongoing Kenya Displacement Response Development Initiative Project (KDRDIP) in the refugee hosting counties is funded through a loan of $100 million to the Government for a period of five years which supports the host communities through a community driven development approach that is complementary to UNHCR programmes in Dadaab and Kakuma.
The World Bank’s IDA-18 refugee sub-window eligibility mission assessed that Kenya is eligible for the financial facility for refugees and host communities which is a step forward in support of the comprehensive approach.
UNHCR and the World Bank are working together on data collection and research to facilitate evidence-based decision-making towards greater economic inclusion of refugees. The World Bank report “Yes in my backyard? The economics of refugees and their social dynamics in Kakuma, Kenya” (December 2016) analyses the economic and social impact of refugees on the host communities in Kakuma refugee camp and, based on the positive economic impact of refugees in the area, makes the case for the socio-economic inclusion of refugees.
In follow up, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and UNHCR launched the study “Kakuma as a Marketplace” on 4 May 2018. The study found that Kakuma’s economy is worth $56 million dollars annually based on consumer spending. Kakuma’s population size combining refugees and hosts is equivalent to Kenya’s tenth largest city, with a vibrant informal economy. It is hoped that the study will support continued evidence-based engagement by various stakeholders, in transforming refugee assistance in Kenya for mutual benefit of both refugees and host communities. In this connection, the IFC announced an allocation of US$20 million for the Kakuma-Kalobeyei Challenge Fund (KKCF) that will benefit social entrepreneurs and local entrepreneurs including refugees and the host community. The fund is expected to be launched in the second half of 2018.
Contact persons for the CRRF in the UNHCR Office in Kenya:
 As of May 2018.
“Understanding and maximizing the whole-of-society approach for the CRRF roll-out in Kenya”, workshop organized by the Refugee Consortium of Kenya and the International Council of Voluntary Agencies in Nairobi, 17 May 2018 attended by the Kenyan Government and fifteen NGOs from the region (Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia and Uganda).
Funding: The UNHCR Kenya Operation requires 185,612,461 for its refugee response in 2018. 19% has been funded thus far.
Resettlement needs: 4,500 planning figure in 2018
12/06/2018: Fifth formal consultation on the draft global compact on refugees (Geneva)
20/06/2018: World Refugee Day
25/06/2018: UNHCR’s Annual Consultations with NGOs (Geneva)
03/07/2018: Sixth formal consultation on the draft global compact on refugees (Geneva)
19/09/2018: Second anniversary of the adoption of the New York Declaration
This dashboard provides an overview of key developments and next steps in the African countries that are applying the CRRF.
This report comes at a crucial time when the unprecedented global refugee crisis, most notably in Europe and the Mediterranean, has not only focused the world’s attention on the plight of refugees, but has also led to the politicization of refugee influxes. With an average of 24 people worldwide being displaced from their homes every minute of every day (UNHCR 2016), the debate surrounding the refugee crises is on the minds of many, ranging from governments and policy-makers to citizens, refugees, and host communities alike. This report provides an original analysis of the economic and social impact of refugees in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp on their Turkana hosts, comes at an opportune time and could resonate with governments and policy makers beyond Kenya’s borders. In particular, the methodology authors have developed enables us to run policy scenarios in a rigorous manner, ranging from encampment to decampment (i.e. camp closure) scenarios, and the potential to apply this methodology in other refugee situations around the world is particularly advantageous.
This document in Swahili is an "easy-to-read" guide on the NY Declaration and its CRRF. Azimio la New York kwa ajili ya Wakimbizi na Wahamiaji - Njia mpya ya kuwasaidia wakimbizi na watu ambao waliondoka katika nchi zao.
Hosted by the Government of the Republic of Djibouti, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) convened a regional ministerial meeting on the theme of education in Djibouti on the 14th of December 2017, which was undertaken in collaboration with the UNHCR, the European Union, and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ). This Action Plan is Annex to the Djibouti Declaration on Regional Refugee Education, the outcome of the regional conference which was signed by all IGAD member States.