Kenya: IFC Private Sector Engagement Kakuma

The project IFC Private Sector Engagement Kakuma implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), seeks to attract private sector solutions for refugees and host communities through catalyzing private investments. Thanks to access to improved services, potentially lower prices and supported jobs, refugees and host community will enhance economic opportunities and capacities, self-esteem, dignity and empowerment.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Horn of Africa
Employment & economic development
Forced displacement (refugees, IDP, human trafficking)
Business support & economic inclusion
SME development
10.12.2018 - 31.12.2024
CHF  4’493’000
Background Kenya is the tenth largest refugee hosting country in the world, and the fourth largest in Africa, with 468’261 refugees - the majority being located in refugee camps in Dadaab (208’595) and Kakuma and in Kalobeyei settlement (186’384) existing since 1991. The Turkana county government, in which Kakuma and Kalobeyei are located, has included refugees in the county integrated development plan 2018-2022 and is also a direct interlocutor to IFC in the plans to improve investment climate. Switzerland has been engaged in Kakuma and Kalobeyi since 2015 in the field of skills development and through support to UNHCR. Thereby, it has gained valuable experience. Together with Switzerland’s longer-term commitment to supporting durable solutions to protracted displacement situations, this experience contributes to the Swiss added-value to the foreseen partnership with IFC.     
Objectives Promote socio-economic integration of refugees and their host communities in Kakuma and Kalobeyei through private sector solutions.
Target groups
  • Refugee and local entrepreneurs who want to expand or start their business;
  • Social enterprises which want to start or expand their business model in Kakuma and Kalobeyei area;
  • For-profit oriented private companies which want to start or expand their products and services in Kakuma and Kalobeyei area and
  • 4. Entrepreneurs among the refugees and host community who will be employed by social enterprises and private companies.
Medium-term outcomes
  1. New and already present private business companies and social enterprises in Kakuma and Kalobeyei area offer employment to refugees and the host community, create more consumption choices, and potentially reduce prices.
  2. Refugee and host communities have access to self-employment and income through the establishment of own businesses.
  3. Policy and advocacy has improved the business environment

Expected results:  

  • Private sector and social enterprises entry into Kakuma and Kalobeyei incentivized
  • Private sector and social enterprises entry into Kakuma and Kalobeyei incentivized
  • Financing for social enterprises engagement in Kakuma and Kalobeyei provided
  • Capacity of local micro and medium enterprises, private sector companies and social enterprises in Kakuma and Kalobeyei provided and improved
  • Understanding of business environment and regulatory framework for business and structured dialogue with relevant stakeholders (private, public) on business environment, legislation, policy, regulation

Results from previous phases:  

SDC supported a nine month inception period to usher in the challenge fund support. During this period, the international finance corporation (IFC) was able to successfully achieve the following:

  • The IFC did an internal justification to invest in Kakuma. This entailed deep discussions about the viability of the idea. A positive outcome was granted, The Kakuma Kalobeyei Challenge Fund (KKCF) is the first project of IFC’s East Africa Refugee & Host Community Umbrella Program.
  • Three key assesmements were launched as follows: Fragility assesment, Gender & social assesment and Environmental assesment. These assements are going to be used to steer and stragically design the planned fund. The Gender and Fragility reports have now been submited to IFC by the consultants.
  • Intense follow up of the policy advocacy component of the planned challenge fund. IFC succesfully discussed and mapped out policy gaps in relation to business environment in Kakuma and Kalobeyei.This was done at Turkana county level and with the World Bank.
  • Clarification of contractual modalities- An acceptable level of information that will accompany the main credit contract (Project Document) was agreed between donors and IFC.
  • Confirmation of the agreed launch date of the challenge fund in the last quarter of the year 2019.
  • Financial mobilization- IFC was able to have more partnerships and financial commitments bringing the planned challenge fund to an estimated 30 million dollars.
  • Competitively tendering and recruitment of the Africa enterprise challenge fund as the main implementer of the challenge fund.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International Financial Institution (IFI)
  • World Bank - International Finance Corporation

Other partners


International Finance corporation (IFC)

Coordination with other projects and actors Africa enterprise challenge fund (AECF), UNHCR, Swisscontact, World Bank, National and county government and  Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK)
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    4’493’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    4’376’552
Project phases Phase 1 10.12.2018 - 31.12.2024   (Current phase)