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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya mulls policy to enhance investment
in arid areas to spur inclusive growth 

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya is considering putting in place a policy to enhance investment in Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASALs) areas to promote inclusive growth, a senior government official said on Monday.

Eugene Wamalwa, the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Devolution and ASALs, told a media briefing in Nairobi that a multisectoral taskforce has been appointed to develop the policy that will guide investments into the remote areas.

“Once the policy is in place the ASAL regions will be the new frontiers for economic growth in Kenya,” Wamalwa said.

The policy will for the first time coordinate national, country governments and donor funding in the ASALs regions that account for more than 70 percent of the country’s land mass.

Wamalwa said the policy will provide a framework to align ASALs development plans and priorities to the national development blueprint Vision 2030, the third medium term plan, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well as the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s development blueprint.

Wamalwa noted that in the past, arid areas have received limited government support as they were considered unproductive regions.

“As a government we have now realigned our prioritizes to ensure that no region is left behind in order to promote equitable development across the country,” he said.

In order catalyze the economic transformation of the ASAL regions; Kenya plans to host the inaugural ASAL conference from Sept. 5 to 7.

Wamalwa said the three-day event will help Kenya to take stock of the opportunities, challenges and progress to inform development of the ASALs regions.

“The conference will be used a peer review mechanism for all development agencies in the underdevelopment regions,” he added.

According to the conference organizers, the meeting will focus on four broad areas namely: Economic, Environment, Governance and socio-cultural issues that are instrumental in unlocking the potential of ASALs development.

At the end of the event, delegates will be expected to come up with resolutions that will form the framework for the all development in the ASALs.

Wamalwa said the resolutions by the stakeholders will be binding in terms of planning and implementation of programs and projects.

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