The European Union has announced that it will scale up its Somali funding by Sh10.9 billion (€100 million) to support the African Union Mission (AMISOM). The mission was expanded by the rehatting of Kenya Defence Forces early this year. The money will go towards meeting the increased salaries and wages needs of the regional peacekeeping unit necessitated by the United Nations Security Council resolution of February 26 to integrate Kenyan troops, a move that increased the force to 17,731 soldiers. READ: Amisom to pay KDF soldiers Sh84,296 monthly allowance Research institutions The 27-member economic bloc has also pledged Sh1.7 billion (€16 million) to boost the capacity of Kenyan research institutions such as the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF). “We believe strongly in these research networks and in building capacity for solving issues beyond national boundaries such as droughts, diseases and resilience building,” said Lodewijk Briet, the EU Head of Delegation to Kenya. Schuman Declaration He was briefing journalists in Nairobi on Thursday as part of celebrations to mark the 62nd anniversary of the Schuman Declaration – a proposal that integrated the coal and steel industries of Europe, and marked the origin of the current European Union. “Research has an important role in fighting dependency on aid and alleviating poverty,” said Sofie From-Emmesberger, the Finnish ambassador to Kenya. Special attention will be paid to thematic areas such as food security, environmental conservation, climate change and disaster preparedness. Kenya will receive Sh3.2 billion (€30 million) in the current year towards drought mitigation, preparedness and nutrition programmes targeted at communities in arid and semi-arid areas. The EU is Kenya’s largest trading partner, accounting for a quarter of total exports worth Sh98.8 billion in the year 2010. The trading bloc mainly imports horticultural products.