The World Bank has extended a $5 million (Sh437.5 million) grant towards development of the livestock sector in drought-prone arid and semi-arid areas in Kenya and Uganda.
The funds, advanced through the eight-country Intergovernmental Authority on Development, is part of a five-year $122 million (Sh10.67 billion) Regional Pastoral Livelihoods Resilience Project approved by the bank's board in Washington on March 18.
A total of Sh6.74 billion ($77 million) will be spent on projects in Kenya while another Sh3.5 billion ($40 million) will be invested on pastoral farming projects in Uganda.
The project has been aligned with IGAD's Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative - a reactionary political commitment by heads of member states to jointly fight drought following its devastating effects in 2011.
World Bank Africa's director of regional integration Colin Bruce said the project will largely supplement IGAD's efforts to restore range lands and create new markets for pastoralists.
"We want to ensure they survive shocks of drought, develop infrastructure in terms of slaughter houses and transportation, develop uniform product standards and do market intelligence," Bruce told a press conference after signing of the grant.
The IGAD project is to be implemented over 15 years from 2011 but kicked off on a slow pace, IGAD's executive secretary Mahboub Maalim said.
He blamed the wrong footed start on "wrong coordination strategy among member countries, poor information flow, response systems that are not synchronised and poor policy and research mechanisms".
"We are going to use part of the money to facilitate cross-border programmes through capacity building. Our goal is to develop better resilience to drought," Maalim said.