The Isiolo County government has signed a deal with USAid that will see small and medium enterprises (SMEs) linked with international markets to accelerate development.
The county, alongside seven others – Kakamega, Makueni, Kiambu, Kisii, Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru – will benefit from the Sh50 billion initiative by the USAid, dubbed Prosper Counties Initiative, that seeks to spur development in the devolved units.
Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti said the five-year project will help in setting up of economic zones in the county to attract investors from the United States which will create jobs to unemployed youth and help reduce poverty.
He said the partnership will help in dealing with a surge in the number of youths in the county joining militant groups and indulging in drug abuse by creating opportunities for both the skilled and unskilled.
“Establishment of the economic zones will create opportunities for youths so that they get into gainful employment and help reduce the number of those abusing drugs and joining terror groups due to lack of jobs,” said Mr Kuti, adding that the main focus will be on youth development and empowerment.
Speaking after signing a memorandum of understanding with USAid Kenya Mission Director Mark Meassick in Isiolo town, Mr Kuti said his administration will continue working with local and international partners to spur development.
AREAS OF FOCUS
Mr Meassick said the project, which will be jointly implemented, measured and monitored by the USAid office and the county government, focuses on health, agriculture, trade, nutrition, democracy and governance, security and livestock.
He reiterated USAid’s commitment to strengthening relationships with the county governments by supporting economic growth through local and international investments.
“We believe in counties as key drivers of economic growth and we will allow them to take a leadership role in implementation of the programme,” said Mr Meassick.
He said negotiations on the project, which will be undertaken in Isiolo County, will start soon.
Isiolo County Commissioner Harman Shambi said a lot of energy was being wasted in the boda-boda business and promised to provide the requisite support for success of the programme.
County Secretary Ahmed Galgalo welcomed the partnership saying it will positively impact on the lives of Isiolo residents.
Nominated MCA Sumeiya Bishar said the programme will enable the youth to engage in productive activities and avoid crime.
“The economic zones will see absorption of many youths which will have a ripple effect on our economy,” said Ms Bishar.