The Government of Garissa County, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the United Nations through the UNHCR have today announced a major new financial package of over Sh. 8 billion over the next two years meant to boost economic growth and opportunity, reduce poverty, improve socio-economic amenities and spur business activity in the county.
According to the details of the financial package announced following deliberations between Garissa Governor Nathif Jama and high level representatives from the Jeddah based bank led by its Africa Division Manager Sohail Maqbool Malik, the money will be funneled to projects in water and sanitation, and irrigation.
The bank would also through its Al-Waqf program assist the county in undertaking public-private partnerships projects in transport and those projects designed to bring a more sustainable solution to the perennial droughts and famines which plague the county leaving the majority of the population poor and vulnerable.
“We are joining hands with the IDB and the UNHCR in making important yet unheralded progress in economic growth and security stability. Now is a crucial moment to support those efforts, end the cycles of insecurity, inter-clan feuding and poverty and move from fragility to sustainability,” said Governor Nathif.
He added: “this new financing represents a major new opportunity for the people of Garissa to make sure they get access to clean water, nutritious food, health care, education and jobs”.
IDBs Sohail Maqbool Malik said devolution offered a unique opportunity for Garissa and the wider Northern Frontier Counties to improve the livelihoods of the people and said the bank would work closely with the county administration to advance development projects that will unlock the regions considerable potential.
“IDB stands ready to further deepen its long-standing partnership with the Muslims of North Eastern Kenya by helping to build robust and accountable governance structures, enhancing trade and economic cooperation, providing humanitarian assistance and development cooperation,” he said.
In a welcome move, Ahmed Warsame, the UNHCR Head of Mission reiterated his organization’s commitment to mitigating the environmental disaster impacted by the refugees to the environment in and around the Dadaab Refugee Complex by revealing that from early next year, the UNHCR will start issuing gas cylinders to the refugees for use for cooking in order to make them desist from cutting down any more trees.
UNHCR also promised to assist the Garissa Teaching and Referral Hospital acquire a CT Scan machine and in collaboration with the IDB, build a fully equipped ultra-modern intensive care unit.
This is in a bid to improve the capacity at the referral hospital which currently lacks those two critical facilities and has to refer patients needing such facilities to the Kenyatta National Hospital.