Eight counties in the arid and semi-arid areas will benefit from a joint donor kitty towards infrastructure and universal health services.
Under the umbrella of the Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC), a consortium of UN agencies, the World Bank and the National government will support key infrastructure projects in roads, health, and energy for the economic bloc.
On Thursday, 12 envoys visited Mandera County as part of a three-day tour in a bid to see the challenges and opportunities for development partnership in the marginalized counties.
Hosted by the Mandera County Governor Ali Roba, the envoys said they were keen on pushing for a change of the narrative, which has painted the county as insecure and unproductive thus scaring away investors.
Roba said Mandera County was exporting onions to Addis Ababa and Nairobi while also exporting watermelons.
“We are pleased to welcome the biggest delegation of envoys in Mandera since independence. It is an endorsement of changing times and the need to work with development partners to better lives and infrastructure,” Roba said.
The governor said Mandera County was now peaceful with the erection of the wall along Kenya’s border with Somalia and this had allowed life to return to normalcy, reduce the terror attacks and increase investment opportunities.
Un resident coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee said the development partners were keen on supporting counties with infrastructure including implementation of universal healthcare.
Swedish envoy to Kenya Anna Jardfelt said development partners were keen to see what was happening in counties to enable them facilitate specific endeavours that would solve health challenges including maternal health woes and problems associated with female genital mutilation.
Principal Secretary for Devolution in charge of ASAL areas Michael Powon said government wanted to change narrative in the ASAL areas which have been marginalized since independence.
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World Bank Task Team leader Kenya Devolution Support Programme Abdu Muwonge announced a Sh54million grant to support capacity of Mandera County through strategic training.
“We want close partnerships with development partners who visit to see first hand challenges the marginalized counties experience. With road infrastructure travel time between producers and markets will be opened,” said Roba.
The envoys visited a level Four hospital under construction in Mandera Town which will be commissioned in March. The ultra modern facility will have an emergency unit and High dependency units as well as an Intensive care unit.
The eight counties forming the FCDC are Mandera, Turkana, Wajir, Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Tana River and Lamu.