Counties in arid areas to benefit from donor fund

Eight counties in the arid and semi-arid areas will benefit from a joint donor kitty towards infrastructure and universal health services. Under the umbrella of the Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC), a consortium of UN agencies, the World Bank and the national government will support key infrastructure projects including road network, health, and energy.

This was announced on Thursday by a team of twelve envoys visiting Mandera County. The visit is part of a three-day tour in a bid to see the challenges and opportunities for development partnership in the marginalized counties.

United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee leading the team said the development partners were keen on supporting counties with infrastructure including implementation of universal healthcare.

“I am pleased to find a committed to improving maternal motility rate and child health in Mandera and I want to assure and commit our support for this course,” said Mr. Chatterjee.

Mandera County Governor Ali Roba said they were keen on pushing for a change of the narrative, which has painted the county as insecure and unproductive scaring away investors.

“We are pleased to welcome the biggest delegation of envoys in Mandera since independence. It is an endorsement of changing times and the need to work with development partners to better lives and infrastructure,” Roba said.

Mr. Roba is chairing the ASAL committee in the Council of Governors. The governor reported that Mandera was peaceful citing security fencing along Kenya Somalia border as a milestone.

“Security fencing of the borderline has allowed life to return to normal and reduce the terror attacks which has increased investment opportunities in Mandera,” he said.

Swedish ambassador to Kenya Anna Jard felt said development partners were keen to see what was happening in ASAL counties to enable them to facilitate specific endeavors that would solve health challenges including maternal health woes associated with female genital mutilation.

Principal Secretary for Devolution in charge of ASAL areas Michael Powon said government wanted to change the narrative in the ASAL areas which have been marginalized for long. World Bank Task Team leader for Kenya Devolution Support Programme Abdu Muwonge announced a Sh54 million grant to support capacity of Mandera County through strategic training.

To improve on health services, Mandera is putting up three modern hospitals the county. Other eight counties forming the FCDC bloc include Turkana, Wajir, Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Tana River, and Lamu.

Source: Daily Nation

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