Kenya's Council of Governors (COG) has committed to expediting industrial approvals within counties, unveiling a strategic plan to leverage opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreements.
At the Kenya Industrialization Conference, 2023 opening ceremony at the University of Nairobi, COG Chair Anne Waiguru emphasized the 47 devolved units' determination to attract investors and stimulate economic growth.
Waiguru announced that County Governments would offer incentives to encourage investors to establish agro-processing factories within counties.
She urged investors to capitalize on the ongoing establishment of County Aggregation and Industrial Parks (CAIPs), strategically positioned to tap into the agro-processing potential.
Speaking on the comprehensive support from County Governments, Waiguru stated, "County Governments will support access to finance by farmers and Medium and Micro Small Enterprises (MSMEs), and provision of necessary infrastructure including roads, electricity, water, and sewerage system."
She underscored the pivotal role of County Governments in not only providing land and financial backing for CAIPs but also facilitating crucial market linkages for businesses within these parks.
Waiguru emphasized the broad impact of CAIPs, asserting, "These parks will boost overall national agro-processing, increase farmer income, create jobs, reduce post-harvest loss, consolidate Kenya produce for intercounty trade, and export markets."
Counties are actively developing guidelines and legislation to facilitate regional, inter, and intra-county trade, recognizing the substantial role played by the private sector in driving county development through investments.
Waiguru invited private sector collaboration, urging joint efforts to create thriving industrial parks that would drive economic growth and generate substantial returns.
As the Governor for Kirinyaga, Waiguru highlighted the utilization of distributed economies as an alternative structure for societal development.
"With 47 distributed economies, investors have the unique opportunity to tap into diverse local endowments organized in the form of flexible units that are synergistically connected with each other," Waiguru explained.
Capitalizing on distributed economies, Waiguru argued, would enable counties to integrate their value chains toward AfCFTA implementation, transforming devolved units by creating employment opportunities, expanding income potentials, and eradicating poverty.
Waiguru specifically pointed to agribusiness as a significant opportunity, citing Article 3 (3) of the AfCFTA agreement, which aims to promote industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development, and food security.
She concluded by inviting the private sector to join in unlocking the untapped potential of Kenya’s agriculture across various counties.