, MERU, Kenya, Jul 1 – A stakeholders’ forum to map out and prioritise the development agenda in Meru County has resolved to pursue key investment programmes in the tourism, agro processing, agriculture and petrochemical industries development.
As part of the recommendations, the conference sponsored by Barclays Bank of Kenya at the Kenya Methodist University main campus over the weekend resolved to maintain a Sh30 billion annual investment programme.
The county investment programme that was endorsed by the delegates led by Meru County Governor Peter Munya alongside Senator Kiraitu Murungi, will be based on a proposed Meru County Development Master Plan. The master plan agreed upon by the stakeholders will focus on four key economic drivers, which include the development of a petrochemical and agro processing industry.
The development of a petrochemical industry in Meru County will be one of the county efforts to exploit its strategic geographical positioning and alignment with the Lamu Port-Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor. On the other end, the development of an integrated agro processing plant will be geared at maximising the potential presented by the nearby Isiolo International Airport.
Speaking at the close of the conference dubbed Meru Rising2013, Governor Peter Munya confirmed that the county development master plan would also be anchored on tourism and agriculture developments as part f the county’s bid to maintain a 10pc GDP growth over the next five years.
The Meru County Development Master Plan, Munya further explained will be rolled out under the direction of the Meru Economic and Social Council (MESC) which will also act as an advisory, monitoring and evaluation arm of the Meru County Government.
He reiterated that the Meru County Development Strategy, will; ultimately be, financed and delivered through a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
“Meru Rising 2013 Conference has set out to ensure the realisation of the ambitious but achievable development agenda within the shortest time possible and will seek to exploit our county competitive advantages,” Munya explained.
“This conference now sets the stage for the formation of the Meru Economic and Social Council to ensure the realisation of these goals.”
By hosting the two-day conference, Meru County has set the pace as among first of the 47 counties to stage a consultative stakeholders’ forum to outline development priorities ahead of a proposed Investment Conference to be, staged later on in the year.
A key plank of the Meru County Government’s development agenda, Munya reiterated will be the design of a realistic and sustainable County Development Financing Model.
“The Meru Rising Conference has afforded Meru sons and daughters a rare opportunity to discuss how to raise and ring-fence a sustainable revenue generation base, explore the opportunities provided by the Public Private Partnership Model for financing projects and the prospects from debt, equity and grant financing in County development,” the governor stressed.
Speakers during the two-day conference included Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, Retired Head of the Public Service Francis Muthaura, Centum Investments Managing Director, James Mworia, Equity Bank Group CEO James Mwangi, Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat Director General Mugo Kibati, South Africa Based Citibank Africa Head of Corporate Finance, Martin Mugambi, Stanbic Investments Services Regional Director, James Muratha, and Higher Education Loans Board CEO Charles Ringera, among others.