NAIROBI, Kenya, May 19 – Leaders, professionals and investors from the Tharaka Nithi and Meru counties have been challenged to work together to unlock the investment potential in the areas estimated at over Sh200 billion.
An official of Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) Ken Manyala said these groups need to collaborate and come up with initiatives that will see them move away from over reliance on agriculture and venture into the services sector.
“You must find yourself in a position to drive this economy from Sh30 billion to the estimated potential of Sh200 billion through the key sectors that have been identified,” Mr Manyala who is the General Manager for Investment, Marketing and Promotion said.
At a meeting dubbed “the Central Eastern Region of the Eastern Province Investment Conference” which is aimed at discussing how to exploit the massive resources in that area, Mr Manyala also emphasised the need for good governance and visionary leadership.
The Authority has been holding such forums which bring together the provincial administration, government and local authority’s representatives, and the business community to discuss pertinent issues affecting smooth and easy operation of investment ventures in their respective regions in the country.
Such conferences are designed to provide an opportunity for dialogue as well as a platform to come up with recommendations on how to mitigate negative factors that impact the investment climate in the region.
The idea was mooted to assist the counties that will be created with the implementation of the devolved system of governance to identify and harness locally available resources to develop and in turn improve the livelihoods of their communities.
The meetings have begun bearing fruit with leaders now mobilising private capital to set up businesses and industries in their home areas.
It was the conviction that pooling resources together spurs economic growth that saw Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi who graced the investment conference, challenge the Ameru people to embrace entrepreneurship and mobilise private capital in order to develop their counties.
“As the Ameru people, we want to be distinguished by pursuit of excellence in all fields including business. We are told of the American dream and I think time has come for us to have the Meru dream. We must move from our routine day- to-day agendas and embrace the promise of new ideas,” he stressed.
Besides striving to add value to the agricultural products including ‘Miraa’ (Khat) which is the county’s commercial product, the minister who’s also the South Imenti Member of Parliament said the residents should put up modern facilities such as hotels that would attract high spending visitors, which would in turn raise the profile of their area.
And in a bid to set an example, Mr Murungi pledged to assist in opening up a new road through which tourists can access Mt Kenya from the Meru County’s side. This was in addition to ensuring the supply of affordable and efficient energy to help drive the economy in the area.
The Energy Minister also underscored the importance of educating children so as to empower and equip them with the necessary skills needed to seek opportunities within and without the Meru borders.
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