Economists have raised concern over mushrooming of county based trading blocs that are not backed by legal and institutional frameworks.
They are warning that though county governments are hurriedly forming trading blocs, their survival and growth could be threatened by lack of clear policies to set them up.
In the recent years, counties have formed blocs largely due to their geographical, historical, political and economic similarities buoyed by the need to spur economic growth within their respective regions.
So far, six blocs representing all the 47 counties have been established though mutual understanding between the various counties. These include
- Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) comprising of seven (7) counties namely; Garissa, Wajir, Mandera,Isiolo, Marsabit, Tana River and Lamu.
- North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB)comprising seven (7) counties namely Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Baringo, Samburu and Turkana.
- Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB)comprising of thirteen (13) counties namely Migori, Nyamira, Siaya, Vihiga, Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kisii, Kisumu, Trans Nzoia and Kericho.
- Jumuia ya Kaunti za Pwani comprising of six (6) counties namely, Tana River, Taita Taveta, Lamu, Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa.
- South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc comprising of three (3) counties namely Kitui, Machakos and Makueni.
- Kenya and Aberdares Region Economic Bloc comprising ten (10) counties namely Nyeri, Nyandarua, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Laikipia, Nakuru and Kiambu.
The blocs are intended to spur economic growth within the respective regions through policy harmonization and resource mobilization.
Despite their noble objectives hinged on trade and promotion of socio economic development, economists have raised concern over the existence of such blocs that are not anchored on any legal and institutional framework.
The economist argue that there is need for policy harmonization and resource mobilization to achieve the trading blocs objectives.
The Ministry of Devolution plans to draft a policy that will guide as well as inform procedures for setting up the blocs.