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Coastal counties seek State help to create employment, improve lives

By Patrick Beja | Dec 15th 2021 | 4 min read

Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP) Chief Executive Emmanuel Nzai. [Standard]

Jumuiya Ya Kaunti Za Pwani (JKP) has asked the national government for financial support to fund projects in the Coast region and create millions of jobs in the process.

In a memorandum sent to President Uhuru Kenyatta, the regional economic bloc hopes to get at least Sh100 billion from the central government to roll out various initiatives it said would generate jobs and grow economies of members.

The bloc, which represents Mombasa, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu counties plans to initiate projects in the blue economy and climate-smart agriculture.

It also wants to develop small-scale industries and develop tourism. There will also be a special focus on cultural development, according to the document.

JKP announced that it will also develop smaller ports, improve education and health and provide affordable housing and safe drinking water.

Conservation of the environment and development of social amenities is also on the cards, according to the bloc’s CEO Emmanuel Nzai.

The projects will also include Special Economic Zones (SEZs) expected to generate over 100,000 jobs, according to the memorandum signed by Nzai and sent to President Kenyatta through ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Projects and programmes

“Based on the projects and programmes envisaged in the document, the JKP secretariat presents before the Right Hon Prime Minister, its call for support for the amount of Sh100 billion to help revive economies of coastal counties,” Nzai said. 

“These resources will be matched by own county contributions and supplemental funding from development partners to support our economic stimulus programmes.”

The memorandum was crafted last week following an agribusiness and investment conference in Diani, Kwale County.

JKP seeks to invest Sh10 billion in the exploitation of blue economy resources such as sea minerals, energy production from tidal waves, seaweed farming, fisheries development and fish processing.

The regional economic bloc wants to invest in blue tourism, blue sports, maritime and shipping, boat building and fishing gear production for export.

The venture is expected to create over one million jobs in five years.

On climate-smart agriculture, JKP plans to use Sh1.2 billion to develop small-scale farming and value addition projects. These projects include aquaponic farming. There will be value addition for coconuts, cashew nuts, bixa and fruits.

Part of the money would be used to provide water pans and build fish ponds among others.

Small-scale farming and value addition projects are expected to create employment for 6,000 youth and induce the employment of about 60,000 other people, according to Nzai.

JKP also wants to revive industries for the production of vehicle spare parts as well as spare parts for bicycles, motorcycles and tuk tuks. The bloc is also keen on boat repairs.

Nzai said they are also keen on developing feeder industries - those that provide their finished product to other industries as their base product or raw material - for special economic zones.

Of the amount, Sh5 billion will be invested in feeder industries with hopes of creating 18,000 jobs annually.

“JKP also wants to provide support to local investors, to tap into opportunities created by tourism, and promote cultural events and the local movie industry. We want to develop local talent, programmes and sports,” Nzai said.

In the memorandum, JKP said it will invest Sh6.6 billion in tourism and cultural development to create 2,400 jobs for youth. The aim is to eventually create 24,000 jobs.

JKP plans to develop over 20 SEZs at a cost of Sh20 billion and hopefully generate 20,000 jobs for each industrial park established. 

The industrial parks are expected to process materials obtained locally for export, the official said.

Jumuiya will use another Sh50 billion for the development of small ports in Shimoni, Takaungu and Vanga that are expected to generate 20,000 direct jobs and two million indirect jobs.

“Feasibility studies have confirmed the viability of development of small ports. These will anchor production and facilitate intra-regional trade,” Nzai said.

Direct jobs

JKP wants to invest Sh10 billion in education, health, water and a clean environment that is hoped to create 50,000 direct jobs and catalyse the employment of five million other people.

It also wants to invest Sh25 billion in affordable housing with hopes of creating 100,000 direct jobs and two million indirect jobs.

“The demand for housing requires adequate planning for decent and affordable units across the region to cater for the growing middle class,” said JKP in the memorandum.

“This proposal is in line with the national government’s agenda for economic recovery and transformation through dedicated efforts to jump-start economic activities that have been hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

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