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Kenya launches first National Spatial Plan to guide land use

By Peter Muiruri | March 9th 2017

Kenya has launched its first National Spatial Plan, which will guide the use and management of land and land-based resources and help in achieving equity, productivity, efficiency and sustainability.

While launching the plan last week, Lands and Physical Planning cabinet secretary Prof Jacob Kaimenyi said the document will address key developmental challenges that the country is grappling with while recognising the abundant and diverse resource endowment.

The NSP recommends strategies to enhance economic niche and mitigate negative impacts.

“Among the challenges addressed therein are regional imbalances, unguided urbanisation, massive land fragmentation and diminishing agricultural land, encroachment into fragile ecosystems and un-tapped and under-utilised resourses,” said Prof Kaimenyi.

He said Kenya is experiencing rapid urbanisation and that by the year 2030, it is projected that 50 per cent of the country’s population will be residing in urban areas.
He added that the NSP recognises the fundamental role transport and infrastructure play in catalysing the country’s development.

“Article 260 of the Constitution widens the scope of spatial planning to include the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone and natural resources on or under the surface,” he said.

He said his ministry has prepared and presented to the Cabinet a draft National Land Use Policy, which when enacted, will complement the NSP.

According to Austine Masinde, the director of Physical Planning, the NSP is a strategic vision that defines the general trend and direction of spatial development for the country.
Masinde said that the constitution mandates the national government to undertake national and regional planning, while the county governments are in charge of local and county planning.

“Formulation of the National Spatial Plan is among the mandates of the national government for the purpose of coordinating sectoral agencies by providing spatial expression to sector policies and guiding the preparation of regional, county and local spatial plans,” he said.

Peter Munya, the chairman of the Council of Governors, said the NSP has identified regions and towns of national importance, including resort cities, techno cities, special economic zones and other “special feature towns”, which if developed accordingly, will spur balanced growth in the country.

He urged fellow governors to embrace the NSP and harness the opportunities as well as take advantage of the emerging positive impacts towards achieving prosperous and democratic counties.

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