7 January 2013

Kenya: Sh24 Billion Earmarked for North Rift Development

Five Counties in the North Rift region will benefit from a new investment plan worth Sh24 billion aimed at developing the main economic activities of these areas.

The initiative will be implemented by the Kerio Valley Development Authority and targets Pokot, Turkana, Baringo, Samburu and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.

KVDA Managing Director David Kimosop says the plan will involve many stakeholders to attract the investments and develop targeted projects in the agriculture, healthcare and education sectors apart from the infrastructure in the region.

The Italian government has already given Sh2 billion for Irrigation in the region through KVDA. KVDA had unveiled the new investment plan for the North Rift region expected to cost sh24 billion.

The investment plan is also aimed at attracting investors to the North Rift region counties where KVDA operates.

Kimosop said they will work with other stakeholders to implement the plan.

"We will focus on providing development initiatives aimed at improving the livelihoods of our people in the region", Kimosop told The Star.

Minister for Regional Development Fred Gumo has already indicated that the regional development authorities will not be faced out under the county governments.

He says the regional authorities which include Kerio Valley Development Authority, Lake Basin Development Authority and Tana River Development Authority will remain intact to continue supporting development in the regions where they operate.

The regional authorities play a key role in irrigation projects to help feed communities in arid regions. "Regional authorities will continue to mobilize resources for more development programmes within areas of their jurisdiction under the new dispensation," he said.

He said regional bodies had been mismanaged in the past leading to wastage of resources but the government has since restructured the management systems to improve performance.

Operations by regional authorities will cut across the counties within the regions where they have been mandated to initiate development projects.

KVDA runs the Wei Wei irrigation project in Pokot which has helped to provide food to many families in the semi-arid region. The authority has already recieve support from the Italian government to sustain the project.

The authority also initiated the Turkwel Power Plant which contributes to the national power grid thus helping to spur economic development through provision of electricity.

Kimosop said currently KVDA's focus was to expand existing irrigation projects with a long term view of initiating new ones.

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