Governors from arid and semi-arid Counties have today converged at Kapenguria town in West Pokot County for an FCDC conference that is meant to foster unity among the leaders and boost economic growth in the region. The Counties under the FCDC (Frontier Counties Development Council) are identifying key projects to be undertaken in partnership with World Bank to a tune of over 1.2 billion dollars.
Counties under FCDC are West Pokot, Isiolo, Tana River, Garissa, Wajir, Turkana, Mandera, Samburu, Lamu, Wajir, Baringo and Marsabit. The Governors discussed various challenges facing the region, ranging from education, roads, food security, health, peace, and agriculture and livestock production among other developmental projects.
Speaking during the conference, FCDC CEO Mohammed Gullet said leaders under the council decided to come together to help develop the regions since they were marginalized for a long period. “The government should chip in and help in funding the projects that we have prioritized so that we have a solution to challenges facing us,” he said.
Gullet said the main agenda of the FCDC conference is to come up with various pointers of how to open the pastoral regions which have been marginalized for decades. He said the Counties had a variety of resources that were untapped and the conference will help the Counties in looking for potential investors. “The three-day event will deliberate on strategies to unlock and harness the enormous potential Northern Kenyan for the prosperity of his people, he said.
He said the Counties are also faced with challenges ranging from diseases, perennial drought, floods and lack of basic health facilities.
The chairman of the Council Governor Ali Roba called on the government to release equalization funds meant for the 14 marginalized Counties. Roba called for more partners to help in funding the projects to help improve living standards and economy of the counties,” he said.
He urged the national government and other development partners to help them in funding the projects they’ll identify to help improve the economy in the regions. The Governor also pointed out that another key agenda that they’ll discuss at the FCDC conference is how they’ll tackle cattle rustling in the region.
Host Governor John Lonyangapuo said cattle rustling in pastoralists communities has been a major hindrance to development and as leaders they will come up with measures to ensure the communities don’t engage in the vice, which scares away investors.
The County boss said marginalized Counties in the past had been blackmailed with negative publicity and it’s the time to prove to the world that the region had the potential to produce.
Also present were Devolution PS Micah Powon, West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio and members of parliament from four constituencies of the County. Governors from the neighbouring Counties who attended are Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia) and Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet). Eight Governors from pastoral areas were present, at the event which is being held at Kishaunet showground.