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Baringo Residents to Benefit on Development Partnership with Netherlands

Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi hosted the Kingdom of Netherlands Ambassador to Kenya Maarten Brouwer to discuss matters on trade investment, health, farming and capacity building opportunities to strengthen ties with the two nations.

Cheboi who was accompanied by his Deputy Felix Maiyo and County Commissioner Stephen Kutwa received the delegates at his Kabarnet office in Baringo Central sub-county, Thursday, thanked the ambassador for the initiative to support the county and highlighted several opportunities the Dutch can tap into.

“The county faces a lot of issues that affect the residents like climate change, insecurity due to perennial cattle rustling menace, drought, high levels of poverty and also gender based violence but through the support of the Dutch government, we believe the challenges will reduce,” Cheboi said.

He asked the Ambassador to consider supporting irrigation of 50,000 acres of land using Lake Baringo water in insecurity prone areas of Baringo South and Tiaty East and West sub-counties as it would create employment of 100,000 residents and boost development and guarantee food security in the Arid and Semi-Arid areas.

“We hope to rejuvenate fish farming, bee keeping, coffee farming, potato farming and dairy industry and also involve our youth and women for equality purposes,” Cheboi added.

On ICT, Cheboi said the county was working on ensuring digitization and use of technology in all sectors of the economy to promote accountability, access to information and ease of doing business.

He also lauded the Ministry of Information, Communication and The Digital economy for the initiatives of launching free wi-fi access in Eldama Ravine and Marigat towns within the county saying it would go a long way in creating job opportunities through online work.

Cheboi also added on the need for youth empowerment and involvement in value chains, technology in particular the access to more information for easier service delivery. “Farmers have been encouraged to embrace technology in digital marketing as a means of reaching out to their customers within the region and even globally,” he said.

Commenting on Tourism, Cheboi boasted of being the first country in Africa that was selected by UNESCO and identified 13 spots as geo-sites in the county that would go a long way in generating revenue.

On the insecurity menace, the County boss said through the support of the Dutch government to hold various sporting activities will boost interaction and communication within warring communities and help put an end to the conflicts.

Kutwa in his remarks said partnership with the Dutch in improving roads and education infrastructure would foster community relations and put an end to perennial insecurities.

Ambassador Brouwer on his part noted that Netherlands enjoys strong connections to the country as it is its third flower export market and a gateway to Europe as Kenya is to the East African Community.

Brouwer promised to implement and support various programs on infrastructure, trade for agricultural products, primary healthcare, green energy and water management.

He further encouraged the county leadership to lobby more on available opportunities for local initiatives so as to access direct funds from sponsors in order to sustain their economy.

By Caroline Cherono and Ivor Parklea

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