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Kenya, Italian bank sign Sh34b deal for Nakuru water project

COUNTIES
By Ally Jamah | July 16th 2015

NAIROBI: Kenya Tuesday signed a Sh34 billion financing agreement with Italy's BNP Paribas and Intesa San Paolo banks for the construction of Itare Dam in Kuresoi.

The signing of the agreement at State House, Nairobi was witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi after they held bilateral talks. The agreement brings Italy's total financial assistance to Kenya to Sh59.3 billion.

The funds will cover the whole water project which consists of construction of the dam, a tunnel, raw water treatment of 100,000 cubic metre per day and laying of pipes. The dam will serve over 800,000 people in Kuresoi, Molo, Njoro, Rongai and Nakuru town.

Speaking during the talks that were attended by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, President Kenyatta and PM Renzi agreed to strengthen co-operation between Kenya and Italy in security, especially in the fight against terrorism.

The President welcomed more Italian companies to invest in Kenya, saying devolution had opened new investment opportunities in agriculture, infrastructure, energy, mining and manufacturing at the county level.

"We are keen on ensuring inclusive growth across Kenya," said Mr Kenyatta said.

The President said the focus should not only be on multinational firms but also on the small and medium companies, saying "they are the real engine that drives the economy".

The two leaders also discussed ways of promoting Kenyan tourism, noting that Italy has vast tourist interests at the Coast especially Malindi.

Mr Renzi said Italy has a thriving SME sector and is willing to share its experience with Kenya for the benefit of the people of the two countries.

The Italian PM, who was in the country on a two-day official visit, was accompanied by Italy's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mario Giro, International Economic Affairs Adviser, Prof Marco Simoni, ENI Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi and ENEL Green Power Chief Executive Francesco Venturi.

NATIONAL COHESION

And speaking at University of Nairobi, the PM said the best strategy to defeat the goals of the terrorist groups is to nurture and strengthen national cohesion and harmony rather than succumbing to divisions and hatred among different religious and ethnic groups.

"National unity is one of the best antidotes in response to terrorism. Let Kenyans not give in to fear but retain the values of tolerance, hope and dialogue," Renzi said in his public lecture titled, "Challenges of development: Building bridges to combat extremism."

He added: "Terrorism cannot be defeated by the military alone. We need to nurture strong values and create bridges in order to block the plans and effectiveness of terrorists."

He called on Kenya to invest more resources in the education of the youth and tackle high incidence of poverty and lack of opportunities that made some youths to join violent extremist groups.

"Although we have seen cases of youths from privileged backgrounds join violent groups, the majority of them are recruited from poor backgrounds that offer no hope for youths. We need a new vision for the youth," he said.

He told Kenyans not to give in to the fear created by terrorists but instead to have courage to unite beyond religious lines to stand against perpetrators of the vice.

He said the attack on Garissa University College in April was an attempt to discourage education of the youth. Renzi said Italy had provided scholarships to survivors of the attack.

Further, the PM said although his country was among the lowest providers of development assistance among the industrialised countries, the situation will change in the next few years.

The function was attended by Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Peter Mbithi, among others.

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