ASALs are home to about 14 million people and about 70 percent of the national livestock herd. But the region has the lowest development indicators and the highest incidence of poverty in the country.
The region has hidden strengthens and enormous resources that can be harnessed not only to sustain themselves but to contribute to national development.
Elmi noted that Kenya will not achieve sustained growth in her economy and progress as a nation if the ASALs are not appropriately factored into national planning and development.
The move to have a policy in place indicates that accelerated investment in previously neglected regions is necessary if all Kenyans are to have an equal chance in sharing in the promise and benefits of vision 2030.
The policy focuses on issues which are distinctive to northern Kenya and other arid lands. Its provisions are consistent with the African Union policy framework for pastoralism in Africa.
The policy is to help facilitate and fast track sustainable development in northern Kenya and other arid lands by increasing investment in the region and by ensuring that the use of those resources is fully reconciled with the realities of the people’s lives.
It is expected to strengthen the integration of Northern Kenya and other arid lands with the rest of the country and mobilize the resources necessary to ensure equity of the regions potential.
It will reduce the dependency on relief interventions and the heavy financial burden of emergency response.