The Government's resolve to mitigate the effects of drought in arid and semi-arid lands got a boost of Sh3.1 billion from the European Union.
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Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Kenya Bruno Pozzi yesterday told governors who are gathered in Malindi for the inaugural Asals conference, that the fund would support the building of sustainable livelihoods and drought risk management in their counties.
"It is aid for the Support to Resilient Livelihoods and Drought Risk Management Programme, which is aimed at enhancing the food and nutritional security of vulnerable households," Mr Pozzi said.
He added that the money would support sustainable livelihoods in four counties most vulnerable to drought.
"It will be implemented through a 'Call for Proposals' targeting non-State actors, county governments or consortia," Pozzi said, adding that a second component targeting beneficiaries in Asal counties would be implemented by the National Drought Management Authority.
There are 23 arid and semi-arid lands (Asal) counties that constitute about 88 per cent of total land mass. Of these, nine are classified as arid and 14 as semi-arid.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said he would discuss with the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) a new Equalisation Fund formula following strong opposition by governors from the eastern and northeastern parts of the country.
CRA had increased the number of marginalised counties from 14 to 34, with the funds targeted to improve healthcare, water services, education, roads and electricity distribution.
"Asals are the new frontier in the country's economic development because of the extractive industry. On equalisation, we will engage CRA because of what has happened here," Mr Wamalwa said.
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He added that both the national and county governments had agreed with multinational organisations on the need to harmonise their projects to stem duplication.
"If one agency or government is doing a water project in a place, then others can be engaged in other sectors so as not to have several agencies doing the same project in the same area."