Seven northern Kenya counties to form regional economic bloc

Monday March 14 2016

Marsabit Governor Ukur Yattani (left) and his

Marsabit Governor Ukur Yattani (left) and his Garissa counterpart Nathif Jama at the Pastoralist Leaders’ Summit at the Samburu Simba Lodge in Isiolo on March 11, 2016. Mr Jama is leading the team bringing together seven northern Kenya counties that will form an economic bloc. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Seven governors from counties in Northern and North Eastern Kenya are planning to form an economic bloc in a bid to make devolution in the region a success.

The bloc brings together Lamu, Tana River, Isiolo, Marsabit, Garissa, Mandera and Wajir which have similar demographic and geographic features.

Garissa Governor Nathif Jama, who is leading the team bringing the counties together, said plans to form the regional bloc were still in the initial stages.

The governors, he said, are strategizing on how to put the bloc’s legal aspects together before drafting a memorandum of understanding (MoU) among the participating counties.

“We are discussing how to form it so that it can help our people. In a nutshell, therefore, it is an idea that we are still working on. Very soon we will be calling on the leadership from the seven counties including the MPs and senators and give a briefing.

“We are still putting the pieces together and all other stakeholders because it is not an idea that has come to conclusion,” he said.

Little has however been realised from similar efforts by Western and Rift valley counties except lip service.


Mr Jama spoke at Samburu Simba Lodge during the Second Pastoralist Leaders’ Summit at the weekend.

The governor said the six counties can only have meaningful growth if they work together.

It was not immediately clear which sectors the bloc would exploit, but livestock production is expected to be one of the major beneficiaries of such an agreement.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who attended the summit's opening, said the government would construct major roads connecting the north eastern counties.

The Head of State said regional authorities in arid and semi-arid (Asal) counties will receive more funding to roll out more services for the wananchi.

Also on the goodies list was the Livestock Marketing Authority to be established and funded in the 2016/2017 financial year to help the pastoralist communities reap benefits from the sale of their animals.

The president raised concern over dwindling girl education and early pregnancies in Northern Kenya saying it was dragging behind development in the region.

“A large number of girls did their exams from maternity wards. Leave the girls to study first then do other things later,” he said.