Coast governors to create joint investment bank
By Tobias Chanji
| October 26th 2015
Coastal counties have resolved to establish an investment bank to finance key projects. Governors from the six counties have also resolved to embark on the immediate integration of their economies through joint planning in Agriculture, Tourism, Mining and other key sectors as well as pooling of resources to achieve the objectives of the Jumuia ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP).
JKP is an economic integration spearheaded by local scholars and supported by the six governors.
During a three-day symposium to discuss the economic blue print at Indian Ocean Beach Resort in Kwale, delegates launched the JKP’s economic blueprint, an ambitious plan they say will lead to the socio-economic integration of the region and boost development.
A number of resolutions were made during the symposium that was closed on Saturday by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. “Of concern should to be to set up Pwani Investiment Bank, embrace the blueprint quickly and embark on common consultative through proper legislation and implementation,” said Taita Taveta University College’s Prof Hamadi Boga.
JKP’s Chairperson Salim Mvurya and Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi said the ideas now need to trickle down to the grassroots.
“It is now time that we should move away from hotels in our discussions and go down to the villages to tell our people what we have been doing,” said Kingi.
Mvurya, who is also the Kwale governor, told the secretariat to consider simple language while going to meet locals. “Let us do away with the jargon that is only understood by the scholars and use a language that our people can understand,” he said. The delegates noted that the only issues that can kill the economic bloc’s aspirations will be politics, lack of commitment, inability to consider the overlapping interests and lack of cooperation and financial support.
In the resolutions partly summarised by Boga, the forum resolved to use a ‘triple helix model’, meaning all government universities and industries should work together.
“The economic blueprint should set an agenda that will engage positively with right-minded people. We need participation and harmonisation of development agenda in all counties and the governors need to champion it,” the resolutions read.
It was also resolved that the blueprint needs to be aligned to Vision 2030, although all the problems and issues will be localised in the three - economic, social and political pillars.
Education, Agriculture, ICT, Infrastructure, Mining and Tourism were cited as the game changers in JKP’s vision.
In infrastructure, Lapsset, standard gauge railway, Dongo-Kundu and resort cities projects in Lamu and Ukunda were identified to have a huge potential for Coastal people.
Integration of the counties was also mentioned as core and the six counties were urged to put up actual implementation steps in place. In tourism, stakeholders said there was need to break barriers and explore other areas of interests like water cruise.
“We have good ports and instead of just putting their containers, we can use them for cruise tourism, the way South Africa is doing,” said Heritage Hotels CEO Mohammed Hersi.
Also for consideration according to Hersi, gambling should be introduced. He added that convention centres in the coastal counties should be put up to cash in on international meetings, just like Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
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