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County and KNCCI collaborate on investment and development

Taita Taveta County Government has entered into an agreement with Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) to formalise the involvement of private sector players in county development programmes.

Governor Mr. Andrew Mwadime stated that his administration was keen on establishing strong Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to tap into the expertise and knowledge of the private sector as part of a long-term programme of opening up various underdeveloped sectors, including agriculture, water, mining, and livestock.

The governor was speaking in Mwatate over the weekend during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the county and officials of KNCCI. Taita-Taveta Chapter noted that the private sector had the necessary structures to generate funding and liaise with investors who would exploit the opportunities available in the county.

He gave his assurance that the county would create legislative and policy frameworks that would create a conducive and investor-friendly environment to boost investments and businesses.

The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Governor, Ms. Christine Kilalo, the Advisor on Investment, Mr. Bill Lay, and scores of members of the KNCCI Taita-Taveta Chapter.

Governor Mwadime added that the signing of the MoU ushered in a new era of cooperation between the government and private investors to promote financial growth and inclusivity in development.

“This county is now open for business. We have formalised our working relationship so that we can have a document to guide how we engage in terms of promoting development in the county,” he said.

The governor hailed the KNCCI for its willingness to participate in development, noting that such support would lead to deeper levels of engagement. He disclosed that the county was making giant strides in forging partnerships with local and international donor organisations who had pledged to support key sectors.

Mwadime said it would be a boon to have the local chapter of Chambers on board and offer advice and insights. The current MoU has a lifespan of three years with a clause for renewal.

The chair of the KNCCI Taita-Taveta Chapter, Mr. Andrew Mwamburi, said the MoU would provide a platform for beneficial engagement with the county government.

He added that his members had the necessary skills and expertise to contribute to county development but had been unable to fully participate owing to open hostility and bad governance in the past.

Mwamburi pointed out that many issues affecting traders and businesspeople in the region, including trade barriers, punitive policies, and unfriendly legislation, would now be properly addressed as the partnership provided both parties with a unique platform to engage.

“We have forged a working relationship that will be beneficial to both the investors and the county government. This will help all of us grow and develop our county,” he said.

Among the key areas, the MoU focused on partnerships to host and participate in investment forums, full participation in the budgeting process, and promotion of trade and business opportunities both locally and nationally.

Mwadime cited many areas for investments whose potential remained untapped. He singled out the water sector, which he said had the potential to transform the county into a food basket in the country.

He stated that the county had massive water resources, including Mzima Springs, Lake Challa, Lake Jipe, and Njoro Springs, which had not been fully exploited, and challenged KNCCI to use its influence and standing to find investors to pump money into such sectors.

“Availability of water for domestic consumption and irrigation remains a major challenge, yet we have sources that can propel us into becoming a water-surplus county. We need investors in such areas,” he said.

By Wagema Mwangi

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