NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 7 – The United Kingdom has launched a Sh8 billion Sustainable Urban Economic Development Program that seeks to support growing urban centers in Kenya.
Speaking to Cabinet Secretaries, Governors and private sector companies, British High Commissioner Nic Hailey said the program is uniquely placed to support the government diversify and create opportunities for fast growing regions.
“No country has reached high income status without urbanization. If urbanization goes wrong; if it does not create opportunities or it is poorly planned it can lead to poverty and create exclusion and that means opportunities are wasted. Therefore, this program will ensure successful urbanization across Kenya,” Hailey said.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and his Lands counterpart Farida Karoney reflected on the increase in demand for critical infrastructure and the importance of strengthening the capacity of counties to plan for urbanization.
“I am pleased to see all these governors here because the issue of planning is a devolved function and to be a beneficiary of a program such as this is a major boost and good news to our country at large,” Wamalwa said.
The program will see all the 47 counties apply and propose regions that should be supported by Sustainable Urban Economic Development (SUED) but only 10 viable counties will benefit after the selection.
The selected counties will profit from five categories which include:
– Urban Economic Planners to help develop integrated and sustainable plans to spur inclusive growth hubs of the future
– Investment Climate Advisors to help remove policy and regulatory constraints to private sector led urban growth.
– Investment Experts to help develop and implement investment promotion strategies to draw in investments.
– Capacity Building Specialists to support priorities identified in the economic plans.
– Seed Grant Funding for infrastructure and development.