An International Centre of Excellence in Public Policy and Research

Stakeholder Rountable on Accelerating Economic Growth and Development for ASALs in Kenya

KIPPRA held a stakeholder rountable on 24th November 2022 on accelerating development for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) in Kenya. The objective of workshop was to share a policy research concept on the subject, which is the theme of the 2023 KIPPRA-Wide Survey.

The workshop brought together key stakeholders from the government, civil society, private sector, private sector and other stakeholders within the country and in the ASAL policy ecosystem to discuss the research concept.

Ms Anne Gitonga, Senior Policy Analyst from KIPPRA, gave welcoming remarks on behalf of the Executive Director, Dr Rose Ngugi. Ms Gitonga noted that ASALs constitute up to 89 per cent of the country’s land, covering 29 counties. She added that although there are various economic structures in ASALs in Kenya, which have contributed to the growth and development, there is need to assess economic diversification options and the social systems of select ASAL communities in Kenya and how these systems potentially affect transformation.  Ms Gitonga said the youth form the backbone of Kenya and, therefore, there is need to explore the role of youth from ASAL areas in the growth and development of the economy.

Mr Jacob Nato, who doubled up as a moderator, made a presentation on economic structures to support ASALs. He noted that the Government of Kenya established the State Department for Development of ASALs to coordinate the region’s planning and development, adding that devolution has played a key role in opening up of ASAL counties. Mr Nato indicated that the regions hold a great economic potential that if well harnessed could boost the levels of economic growth and development. However, he noted that the ASAL regions have a low capacity to withstand various cultural, economic, ecological, infrastructural and environmental shocks arising from droughts, conflicts, and climate change.

Ms Beverly Musili, a KIPPRA Policy Analyst, made a presentation on policy review of Government initiatives in Northern ASAL counties. The objective was to map the evolution and progress of national and county government investments in ASAL areas through policies, programmes and budgeting before and after the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010. The study reviewed policy frameworks covering key policy areas in ASALs.

Mr Paul Odhiambo, KIPPRA Policy Analyst, made a presentation on securing pastoral mobility to tackle resource-based conflicts in Kenya’s ASALs. He noted that security has been a major challenge in the ASAL region and as a result, it has continued to impede economic growth and development of communities. He said the conflicts emerge from competition for natural resources, cattle rustling, inter-communal conflicts, economic and social inequalities, climate change, unresolved land ownership, youth unemployment and weak local institutions. Mr Odhiambo noted that that there was need to explore various mechanisms that have the potential to secure pastoral mobility in the context of an evolving environment in the rangelands and explore alternative disputes resolutions to conflicts in the context of the devolved units.

The plenary session provided stakeholders an opportunity to seek further clarifications on the theme and areas of focus of the survey and give useful comments and to inform and enrich the research.

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