Regional blocs good idea

Tuesday March 15 2016

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The decision by seven northern Kenya counties to form a regional economic bloc makes a lot of sense. As devolution takes root, there is increasing realisation that none of the 47 counties can go it alone.

In as much as the devolved units treasure their independence to focus on their unique challenges in efforts to improve the lives of their people, there are regional synergies they need to harness to tackle their economic woes.

As Lamu, Tana River, Isiolo, Marsabit, Garissa, Mandera, and Wajir forge closer economic ties, this will help to deepen devolution. They can jointly formulate strategies and pool resources.

There is a lot to gain from this cooperation. Similar initiatives have been considered by the counties that share the Lake Victoria shoreline, and, of course, there is more for those in central Kenya to gain from jointly thinking through programmes that would benefit from the economies of scale of such regional initiatives.

Through such blocs, the counties can also plan roads and other infrastructural projects that cut across their borders. For the north, the livestock industry calls for such a regional front. It is, therefore, not surprising that the local leaders want the Kenya Meat Commission privatised and revived to develop the beef export trade.