The Cabinet Secretary for Devolution Eugene Wamalwa says the County Economic blocs can significantly spur economic growth of respective regions through joint projects and programmes.
Speaking during the validation of the draft policy document on seven County Economic Blocs, the CS said the document is intended to address economic and social development needs of member counties.
It also aims at developing mechanisms of sourcing for finances including the appropriation through county budgets, conditional grants from the national Government and public private partnership arrangements.
Wamalwa said the draft document is awaiting approval by the cabinet before it is launched during this year’s devolution conference to be held in Kirinyaga County.
“The counties must think big. Central Kenya Economic bloc for instance has a great idea to revive the railway line from Nairobi to Nanyuki all the way to Isiolo”, the CS said.
Wamalwa further added that, he is happy to welcome the new block of Kajiado and Narok counties under the umbrella of NAKEB. He said these two counties are expansive and home of tourism activities.
Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo said his ministry already has a National Trade Policy that will help facilitate economic activities among the 7 economic blocs.
He says they are partnering with the blocs in the areas of fisheries, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, handicrafts and services like education and tourism.
“The noise about equitable distribution of resources has one down significantly due to the devolution system of governance”, Kiptoo said.
All the 47 counties except Nairobi County are now fully represented in seven economic blocs with the largest being the Lake Region Economic Bloc – LREB comprising 14 counties
Others are North Rift Economic Bloc – NOREB, Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani – JKP, South Eastern Kenya Economic bloc – SEKEB, the Frontier Counties Development Council – FCDC and NAKEB bloc comprising Narok and Kajiado counties.
Further the study on the status of the county economic integration indicates that tangible progress has been made towards the institutionalization of the regional county economic blocs.
NOREB comprising of (Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo, Marakwet, West Pokot, Baringo), LREB (Kakamega, Kisumu, Busia, Homabay, Kakamega, Siaya, Kericho, Nandi, Migori, Vihiga and Trans Nzoia and FCDC- Garissa, Wajir, Samburu, Turkana, Isiolo, Lamu and Mandera are more established blocs having put in place policies and mechanisms to spur development.
LREB for instance is in the final stages of coming up with its regional bank to serve the 14 counties.