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Friday, 07 February 2020 17:41

URBAN LINKS AFRICA

The Council of Governors, the county directors in charge of urban development held a consultative meeting with the connected places catapult (CPC) on Friday, 31st of January 2020 at the COG offices. Connected Places Catapult is the UK Centre of Excellence for urban innovation and mobility with a role to catalyze the innovation market in the UK and globally. In October 2019, the connected places catapult started a £2.5 million program in Kenya and South Africa known as Urban Links Africa.

The Urban Links Africa project will work closely with selected cities to identify the most urgent and the high level urban challenges. The Programme will equally run city capacity building workshops for partner cities. It has a span of 20 months which culminates in April 2021 and will focus on 6 cities: 3 in Kenya and 3 in South Africa. The three cities in Kenya are Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

The Kenyan cities are expected to identify the most constraining challenges facing them. These challenges will be discussed and looked through in a major meeting in March this year that will bring major stakeholders together. The challenges will be articulated to a broad ecosystem of UK startups and tech companies in the form of an audition. They will be paired with start-ups across Kenya and South Africa to propose joint tech solutions (equitable partnerships). The best association will get a grant to extend their technology products and services across these 6 cities while the Catapult will ensure their economic, social and environmental impact is closely monitored.

The meeting therefore proposed that the 3 Cities of Kenya identify their challenges and implement technological and innovation solutions that improve quality of life of citizens, establishment of equitable partnerships for innovation and technology sharing between Africa & UK cities, tech hubs and ecosystems, creation of an initial cohort of trained and innovation ready African cities and the project to recruit a technical Officer who will support the Urban Committee.

Friday, 07 February 2020 17:27

SYMBIOCITY KENYA HOMESTRETCH

The Symbiocity Kenya project has made tremendous strides since iception inception in 2015. Some of the landmark achievements of the project thus far include: development of a toolkit for inclusive urban development dubbed ‘’Planning our towns”, impactful projects in the pilot counties, development of guidelines for place making (which is paramount for any urban sector), several successful capacity building sessions for county practitioners, among others. All these have drawn the country closer to sustainable urban development which was their high level expectation.
The Miji Endelevu project has not gone without its share of challenges. According to the project manager, the project still faces schedule constraints.
During this period ending in December 2020, Symbiocity Kenya’s objective is to implement the change projects as well as facilitate peer learning amongst counties. Mr. Mbwika, the project manager, pointed the need for early planning to achieve desired results. “We are planners, therefore, we have a tendency to prepare ahead of time to ensure things run smoothly. To this end, we have had several stakeholder meetings just to sit and look ahead of time about the things that we need to execute this year. What we plan for this year is basically to implement the change projects.’’
The project has focused on transparency and accountability in its implementation and especially in it procurement processes. To this point, the project has not had any negative procurement issues towards it. “The county does procurement, COG reviews through a ratification process and if the document is okay, we issue the county with no objection, which is basically a greenlight to get in to contracts with suppliers. An auditor from the Embassy is also expected to come and oversee the ratification process. For a county’s procurement process to be termed successful, it must have complied with Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015 as well the Symbiocity Kenya implementation framework and guidelines,” he continued.
The aspiration of the Symbiocity Kenya is that the capacity building done among urban planning experts in the counties as well as the lessons learnt from the 7 pilot counties would be replicated in all the other counties to cause a revolution in sustainable urban development in Kenya.
Miji Endelevu or the Symbiocity Kenya Project is a partnership between the Council of Governors (COG) and the Sweden Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), to purposely test integrated urban solutions and strengthen planning capacity of the 7 towns in the 7 pilot counties in Kenya, selected through a competitive process in 2016. The towns are Mbita of Homabay County, Ahero of Kisumu County, Kwa Vonza town of Kitui County, Ontulili of Meru County, Njoro of Nakuru County, Kiminini of Trans Nzoia County and Butere of Kakamega County.

The Council of Governors led by H.E Prof. Kivutha Kibwana met Development Partners and held discussions about their support the 7th Annual Devolution Conference scheduled to be held on 20th – 28th April in Makueni County. The overall Conference theme is Multi-level governance for climate action and the guiding theme: Strengthing sub-national governments to act on climate change and develop stronger mitigation capacities.
Present in the meeting was the European Union Head of Cooperation Hubert Perr who on his side pronounced the strong support for Devolution process in Kenya that the EU has deeply institutionalized. “Climate Change is a topic that the whole world relates to. As it has been in the previous conferences, the EU will offer technical expertise during the conference to ensure that the discussions are significant,” said Mr. Perr.

Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator, noted that the UN continues being a good partner to the Council of Governors and the process of devolution pointing out the the importance of the devolution Conference especially towards addressing the need to use innovations in Climate Action pledging the support of the United Nations towards the success to the conference and the mitigation of Climate change, a topic the UN is very passionate about.

Other partners present were the County Assemblies Forum, the USAID, JICA, World Vision and Nema who all indicated their support and participation during the meeting and planning process of the 7th Annual Devolution Conference.

Planning the future without the Children and Youth is effort in futility. Involving these groups is very important in steering the course of our nations. For this, the Council incorporated the Children’s conference to be held in Kisii County in April for the children to have a chance to air their voice and challenge the future of climate action.

For the first time, the Council of Governors and other partners will host Youth Conference as a pre-cursor to the Devolution Conference. This will enable inclusivity of the youth in decision making. The resolutions of the Children and Youth conferences will be presented in the 7th Annual Devolution Conference for adoption and implementation

Monday, 03 February 2020 13:14

COUNCIL OF GOVERNORS ELECTIONS

Pursuant to section 19 (2) and (3) of the Intergovernmental relations Act 2012, the Council of Governors held its executive elections on 20th January 2020. This is the eighth elections held by the Council of Governors since 2013. The election process has always been efficient and with decorum with peaceful transition.
Speaking during the COG leadership unveiling luncheon, Devolution and ASALs Cabinet Secretary Hon. Eugene Wamalwa congratulated the Council of Governors for the long track record of peaceful elections and transition. “I must say congratulations to you for the peaceful transition in your leadership. This is something we can emulate as a Country,” he said.
Council of Governors executive leadership has promoted intergovernmental collaboration and integration between the two levels of Government. The Council has over the years been at the forefront in representing and protecting the interests of the County Governments at the intergovernmental level. “The leadership of the COG will play a major role in working shoulder to shoulder with the National Government and the two levels of government synergizing for us to realize our vision as a Country,” said Wamalwa.
The Council of Governors bestowed upon HE FCPA Hon. Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya. Governor Kakamega County a second term to lead as the Chairman Council of Governors. Governor Oparanya took over power from His Turkana Counterpart HE Josphat Nanok in January 2019. This marks the second and final term for the Kakamega Governor to serve as the chairman as enshrined in law.
“Let me convey a heartfelt thank you to all the Excellency Governors for their support in the last one year. I stand here proud of what we have achieved. On my part it has been a privilege, an honor and a humbling experience, to serve as a Chairman of the Council of Governors,” said the chairman.
H.E. Oparanya starts his second term when devolution is facing a myriad of challenges. In his acceptance address, he committed to work tirelessly to ensure that he tackles these issues strategically and sustainably. “There are several challenges that must be addressed in order to firmly anchor devolution. They include; 4. Underfunding of County Governments, delayed disbursements that paralyze activities at the County level, prolonged and tedious division of revenue process, challenges with KEMSA, corruption among other challenges,” the chairman highlighted.
Seven years into a devolved system of Governance, there is urgent need for the two levels of Government to deepen the working relationship to improve service delivery to Kenyans. Over the years, the two levels have met on several intergovernmental forums such as IBEC, the Devolution Conferences, and the Summit that is chaired by the president to iron out issues of concern to both levels of Government. Governor Oparanya and the elected executive have committed this year to deepen these relations. He called upon both levels of Government to work together as a strategy to achieve more success.
“As we move into another year of devolution, my desire is that this will be a year of closer and deeper partnerships. Synergy between the National Government and County Governments is so important in delivery of development agendas like the Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC). Without dialogue based on good faith and proper coordination, the two levels of government will achieve little. And cooperation should also be seen in the development partner and private sector fronts,” he concluded.
The current executive leadership (see full committee here) will lead the Council and the respective technical committees for the period ending January 2021 when the next election shall be held.

Monday, 02 December 2019 13:31

Public Participation and Civic education

In a bid to involve citizen to participate in the decision making process of their County, Lamu County Government has begun the process of developing their Citizen Public Participation Policy. Following a request on technical support to the Council, the process was a continuation of efforts already put in Lamu County in 2017. In a meeting supported by the Council of Governors and the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), the meeting was officially opened by the Deputy Governor Lamu County H.E Abdulhakim Aboud Bwana who noted that the Constitution underscores the importance of public participation since the sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya. “The people have delegated this sovereign power through the executive and assembly,” said the Deputy Governor. He further noted that staff in government offices were exercising this power on behalf of the people of Kenya. This, therefore, mandates the County Governments to involve the people in planning and managing public resources and especially those allocated for County Development purposes.
In public participation, H.E Abdulhakim Aboud Bwana called for the County Officers to think about where there have been lapses in terms of public participation and the areas of improvement. While addressing participants, the DG reiterated that public participation need not be only about meetings. Rethink the models that are cost effective and take care of wide coverage. He also called for the harmonization of public participation so that it is conducted all through departments. ‘...As we call upon citizens to participate, equally look at empowering the community on the matters being brought on the table for their attention. For effective Public participation, the people participating must be aware of what they need to participate in...’
Ms. Zainab from the UNDP made participants understand what UNDP looks at in assisting counties achieve their goals. Innovative approaches towards achieving Public Participation with a focus on marginalized and impoverished communities will help shape the next phase of support.
Mr. Shee Kupi, the director in charge of Public participation and Civic Education highlighted that Lamu’s draft public participation policy had not fully met the legal provisions of establishing citizen participation frameworks and this workshop was to build capacity and to refine their policy on the same. It was noted that the County Assembly committee members who had previously confirmed participation were not in attendance. However, the technical clerk of the committee concerned (Trade Tourism Information Cooperatives) was able to raise and deliberate on issues that touch of the county assembly.
Chief Kiunga noted that Chiefs are on the ground, called for County officials to make use of the existing administration system to enhance effectiveness of the public participation processes. “Unfortunately citizens are used to the handouts and thus the proposed PP model must find a way of reimbursing them,” he further stated.
Some of the key innovations arising from 3day discussions was the use of a “town crier’ as a form of sending out communication prior to the public participation forums.
Participants noted that for purposes of meaningful engagement the document for discussion needs to be in the public domain before it reaches the actual day of Public participation. Further, technical documents need to be simplified for easy consumption of the citizen.
The meeting was represented by County officials from the departments of trade, tourism, youth, communication, Legal, Audit, budgeting, Public Service management & Admin, Economic planning, social team lead. Equally in attendance were representatives from Lamu County Assembly, Civil society team, the Chief Kiunga and UNDP.

The Council of Governors held a learning forum with Governors, CECMs of Finance, Chief Officers of Finance/Economic Development and County Directors in charge of Planning and Budgeting, Finance, Revenue, Procurement, and Internal Audit, as well as County Directors in charge of Partnerships and/or Resource Mobilization on 4th -5th November in Nyandarua County on upholding accountability in public finance management with financial support by the World Bank. The learning drew from three perspectives, namely; the County Audit Process; the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) Assessment and Open Government Partnership (OGD) Initiative.
Nyandarua and Makueni County were the first counties to ever get a clean audit report from the Office of the Auditor General and this platform was therefore important to enable them share their experience and what other Counties can borrow to be able to achieve the same.
Why addressing the delegates at the conference, HE Francis Kimemia, emphasized on the importance of ensuring that Counties learn from each other to improve service delivery and especially in management of public resources and enshrine in the supreme law of the land. “ The aim of this conference it to ensure that we all can share our difference experiences in management of public resources and ensure that they are effectivel, efficiently, ethically and lawfully utilized.” Said Governor Kimemia.
Participants also benefitted from insights from key stakeholders, including the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), the Office of the Controller of Budget, and the Office of the Auditor General. Others were the Institute of Economic Affairs, the World Bank, the NEPAD/APRM Kenya Secretariat, and a NEPAD/APRM/NPA Ugandan delegation from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
The PFM Peer Learning forum under the theme Upholding Accountability in Public Finance Management, was meant to guide structured improvement in public finance practices by County Governments, to improve PFM standards and increase the number of Counties that receive clean (unqualified) financial audit reports from the Auditor General.
Resolutions from the forum;
1. THAT prudent public finance management is the key determinant of a County’s overall performance, the County’s image and value for money in service delivery to citizens. In this regard, Counties shall progressively seek to improve PFM practices for improved service delivery and as part of corruption risk mitigation.
2. THAT Counties shall strengthen County Internal Audit Units by ensuring their independence, allocating a dedicated budget, adequate staffing with professional personnel and providing logistical support to facilitate the units to discharge their mandate effectively. In this regard, Counties shall also establish an effective mechanism for coordinating activities of Internal Auditors.
3. THAT Counties shall support/undertake structured capacity strengthening of Officers in charge of facilitating PFM in priority areas in collaboration with the National Government, other independent offices such as the Commission on Revenue Allocation, the Office of the Controller of Budget, the Kenya School of Government, local universities and Development Partners. In this regard, Counties will prioritize PFM capacity needs, including Internal Audit, procurement and IFMIS.
4. THAT as part of strengthening the capacity of Counties, County governments shall adopt supportive strategies, initiatives and innovations that strengthen governance and accountability in PFM. These may include but are not limited to implementing recommendations of audit reports, Open Procurement, digitization of financial records, County Peer Review Mechanism and supporting the scaling up of Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) Assessments.
5. THAT Counties shall ensure PFM-related risk-mitigation measures during all forms of transitions, to minimize vulnerability of PFM systems and processes to abuse.
6. THAT County governments shall set aside adequate funds for implementing initiatives that seek to improve PFM in counties.
7. THAT Individual Counties shall make reference to the report of the PFM Learning Forum held in Nyandarua County to support implementation of the recommendations in this Communiqué.
8. THAT the PFM Peer Learning Forum for County Governments should be convened at least once in a financial year to provide a platform for sharing information, lessons, new knowledge and strategies for continuous improvement in County Financial Audit and IFMIS, among others.
9. THAT the Council of Governors will convene a high-level meeting to deliberate on how to support Counties to improve PFM in view of the recommendations herein.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019 13:43

TRAINING OF GENDER FOCAL PERSONS AT THE COUNCIL

Gender talks have in the recent past drawn so much traction. Gender issues get rapid, dynamic and complicated as days pass hence more need to bring this issue at the table. It’s against this backdrop that the Gender committee at the Council of Governors organized a training for the gender focal persons on the 19th of November, 2019, at the COG Offices to discuss gender mainstreaming and social accountability.
“When we talk of gender, many of us would naturally peg it on women, which is not a true thing’’, said Migide, the program officer - Gender at the council. “ I am therefore glad that this day has come so that we can unravel some of these things and know that gender is an all-inclusive concept as we delve deeper in to gender mainstreaming”, she continued.
Gender mainstreaming refers to a strategy for making the concerns and experiences of women and men an integral part of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres, so that women and men benefit equally. The ultimate goal of mainstreaming is to achieve gender equality. It is basically a question of: are we gender responsive in all our endeavors? Is it in our language, is it in our roads, and is it in our everyday undertaking?
Whereas there are many other basic tenets in the gender space, there are those that would naturally pop up in any gender conversation including: Gender vs sex; Gender equity vs gender equality where the latter refers to ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender; including economic participation and decision making whereas the former refers fairness of treatment in treatment of women and men according to their respective needs.
“To work effectively on ending violence against women and girls, it is especially important to become familiar with and be responsive to the specific gender dynamics and social an ad cultural reference points that prescribe the roles of men and women in any given society. This requires socio-cultural research and analysis to understand what the norms and expectations are for men and women in any given context and how this might affect the programme, so that interventions can be designed accordingly”, said Mr. Paul Kuria the facilitator, who is also from the National Gender and Equality Commission. Gender analysis refers to a type of socio-economic analysis that uncovers how gender relations affect a development problem. It examines the differences in women's and men's lives, including those which lead to social and economic inequity for women, and applies this understanding to policy development and service delivery.
“If we don’t take guard in the issues pertinent to gender, it might be very easy to forget about them. We are gender champions should match ahead and lead the others. We should also strive to be gender progressive in our endeavors including our individual roles in our homes’’, advised Ms. Mogeni, CEO, Council of Governors, who is also a gender expert.
In this era, any organization both Government, Private and Non-profit must take into consideration Gender sensitive programming into all its programmes and activities. Gender sensitive programming refers to programmes where gender norms, roles and inequalities have been considered and awareness of these issues has been raised, whereas gender progressive programming is where gender norms, roles and inequalities have been considered, awareness raised and something done about it. “Gender sensitive programming is just knowing about gender norms and roles whereas Gender progressive programming is about knowing about the gender issues and doing something about it. Gender progressive programming should therefore be the way to go in order to salvage the gender boat’’, concluded Mrs. Mogeni.
The training equally covered issues on social accountability which is the actions initiated by citizen groups to hold public officials, and service providers to account for their conduct. It also considers their performance in terms of delivering services, improving people's welfare and protecting people's rights. It is important in enhancing the efficiency of public service delivery.
To conclude the training was a gender power walk which served to show that all should be treated equally regardless of their status. Gender is one of the contributors of development and hence should be given the seriousness it deserves.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019 12:42

ENHANCING PARTNERSHIPS FOR IMPACT

The United Nations (UN) Kenya Resident Coordinator’s Office and Council of Governors on 25TH November convened a high-level meeting that brought together County Governors and the leadership of the UN Kenya Country team in order to discuss ways of enhancing a common understanding on the Kenya United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2018-2022 and further exploring areas on deepening collaboration.

In his opening remarks, Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator to Kenya, lauded the Government of Kenya for its leadership at both National and County levels. “I am happy with the deepening collaboration that the UN in general has received from the leadership in both levels of governments”, he said. Siddharth called for a stronger partnership between the UN Kenya Country Team and Kenya’s County Governments in order to fulfil the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals agenda in Kenya so as not to leave no-one-behind.

The Resident Coordinator highlighted that over the period 2018 – 2019 the UN had provided US $205 million catalytic support towards UNDAF programming in support of Kenya’s Big Four agenda and the achievement of Kenya’s Vision2030

H.E Wycliffe Oparanya, Chairman of the Council of Governors, and Governor of Kakamega, speaking in the meeting shared his deep appreciation for Kenya’s long-standing partnership with the UN, and encouraged the UN to continue to advance its programming at County and grassroots levels in order to address the root causes holding back Kenya’s social economic development. “As County Governments we appreciate the major support the UN has given us since devolution began and we are hoping it will be long lasting and would help elevate Kenya’s economic and social development especially at grassroots level”, said Oparanya.

The current UNDAF has three Strategic Priority Areas that are aligned to the MTP III Pillars (Political, Social and Economic) of the Government’s Vision 2030 : 1) Transformational Governance encompassing respect for the rule of law, improved security, and effective implementation of devolution, 2) Human capital development comprised of education ,training and learning, health, Multi-sectoral HIV and AIDS response, access to safe water and sanitation, social protection, gender based violence and violence against children, access to adequate housing and strengthening capacities for addressing disaster and emergencies and 3) Sustainable and inclusive growth focusing on a competitive and sustainable economic growth that is increasingly resilient, green, inclusive, equitable, and creating decent jobs and quality livelihoods for all.

Through this framework, the UN in Kenya will in the coming five years, commit a total of Ksh.197 billion (approximately $1.9 billion) to support the government realize development needs of the country. 58% of the estimate budget (about Ksh.116 billion) will support human capital development contributing to two of the GOK Big Four Agenda, namely housing and universal health coverage. 27% (about Ksh.50 billion) will support sustainable development and growth contributing to the other two agendas of food security and manufacturing. The remaining 15% (about ksh.30 billion) will focus on transformative governance, which is a key enabler of the Big Four Agenda as well as the MTP III.

The UNDAF 2018-2022 is building on innovative approaches, strengths, lessons learnt, and efforts initiated by the UN, National and County Governments, and development partners in Kenya. As such, the new UNDAF speaks to and intend to advance the UN Secretary General’s agenda on repositioning the UN system. Regarding strategic change and reforms, the new UNDAF will make even greater strides towards, expanding public private partnerships for SDG realization; deepen integrated programming, supporting counties and bordering countries going to the furthest first, to enhance the roots of cohesion and socio-economic transformation.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019 12:20

THE 11th IBEC MEETING

The Council of Governors led by the Chairman, H.E Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, on Monday 11th Nov 2019 attended an Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) meeting at Deputy President’s Residence. This being the 11th Session since the inception of the devolved system of Government, the meeting was chaired by the Deputy President, H.E William Samoei Ruto to have discussions on budgetary issues affecting the Country.

Critical issues on the agenda like County Assets and Liabilities, Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee presented the report on County Assets and Liabilities from the Defunct Local Authorities. The report provides for liquidation options like; Counties to budget for the offsetting of the liabilities from their own equitable share of revenues, National Government to consider allocating conditional grants for payment of the liabilities as a strategic intervention mechanism, National Government and County Governments to consult and agree on offsetting the liabilities jointly through an agreed percentage, Government institutions to consider writing off debts owed, where applicable, current assets be used to off-set the liabilities on County to County basis or Debt swap as a liquidation option should be used to consider based on framework that determines actual values as established through an appropriately developed legal framework.

On County Pending bills, the meeting noted that that Counties had cleared Ksh.23 Billion which is 45 per cent of the total pending bills audited by the Office of the Auditor General and declared eligible. County Governments were requested to continue with clearing of pending bills as a first charge on their budget. The remaining eligible pending bills amounts to Ksh.28 Billion.

Speaking during the meeting the Deputy President Dr. William Ruto Counties are committed o settling the pending bills owed to suppliers. “I applaud the County Governments for their bold commitment to addressing the problem of pending bills; the decrease from Sh108 billion as at June 2018 to Sh34.5 billion in the end of the 2018/2019 financial year is commendable.” Said the Deputy President. Dr. William Ruto assure the County Governments the support of the National Government to ensure that their obligations are honored in time to spur the country’s economic growth.

While in the same meeting, the Chairman of the Council of Governors, H.E Wycliffe Oparanya noted, “This is one of the meetings that has unlocked some of the issues facing Counties, we are glad that through such a forum, we are able to discuss as the two levels of Government to ensure matters of National interest are well attended to.” He reiterated what the Deputy President said and added, “County Governments are committed to ensure that eligible pending bill are cleared and supplier get their due diligence.”

Additionally, during the meeting, The Chair of CRA, Dr. Jane Kiringai presented a report on issues on the Counties borrowing framework as directed by IBEC to the Joint Legal, and Loan, and Grant committee. It was agreed that Counties can borrow up to 20% of the County most

recent audited revenues as debt ceiling. Counties were called to consolidate borrowing need for the FY 2020/2021.

The meeting also resolved that the Deputy President will endeavor to call for quarterly IBEC meeting as per the calendar of events.

Thursday, 14 November 2019 13:07

NIGERIAN GOVERNORS PEER LEARNING VISIT TO KENYA

“We need to learn from each other and see what works in one country and replicate in the other. We cannot be going to other parts of the world to look for African solutions when we have our brothers with whom we share many things in common close to us”, said Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong during his recent visit to Kenya.
The Plateau State Governor and his delegation, were in the country upon invitation by the Council of Governors, on a Peer Review visit on behalf of the Northern Governors Forum which saw him visit Murang’a, Nakuru and Kericho Counties in order to explore areas of collaboration that both devolved jurisdictions can learn from.
Furthermore, H.E Lalong held various discussions on issues dwelling around Agriculture Value Addition and tackling poverty through the utilization of cooperatives.
In Murang’a County, H.E Lalong was received by the Governor and CoG Vice Chair H.E Mwangi Wa Iria at his County office, where they held discussions on H.E Lalong’s mission in areas of collaboration for the countries.
Accompanied by the host Governor H.E Mwangi Wa Iria and Kericho Governor H.E Prof. Paul Chepkwony, the Nigerian delegation first stop was at the Murang’a Diary Processing Factory where they were shown round the whole milk production chain and packaging processes respectively. The projects is a value addition initiative by the County Government that provides farmers with ready market for their milk. Since its inception, farmers have recorded minimal losses and better returns from the milk they sell to the factory.
H.E Lalong echoed that the Northern part of Nigeria had similar characteristics with many Counties in Kenya which were mostly agrarian and relied on food production for income and employment opportunities.
It is noted that Plateau State shares similar topography and weather with Murang’a and as such will be interested in forging closer relations that will yield positive results for the benefits of the citizens of both States.
The delegation then proceeded to Naivasha in Nakuru County where H.E Lalong and his delegation visited Oserian Flower Farm Limited and held discussions with the MD Neil Hellings on prospects for training and investments that can be adopted in Plateau State and other northern Nigeria States. Before leaving for Kericho, the delegation paid a courtesy call to Nakuru Governor H.E Lee Kinyanjui at his office.
While in Kericho County, both Governors initiated talks in gearing towards identifying and establishing trade opportunities between the two governments This was as a result of a tour of the Chepseon Dairies Ltd, Toror Tea Factory and later Kenya Tea Packers (KETEPA) where both governments made a commitment of entering into partnership aimed at exploring and exploiting possible trade opportunities between Kericho and Plateau State with Kenyan tea being the main focus.
The two leaders agreed to push for the expedition of the ongoing registration of KETEPA products by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria. Currently, Nigeria imports 4.2m kgs of Kenyan tea, and with this new engagement, the leaders said the volumes are expected to rise.
The Nigeria – Kenya visit by the Nigerian Governors is the initial peer learning visit by Nigerian Governors to Kenya where both Countries have adopted a devolved system of Governance. Though Nigeria has had the system for longer, Kenya enjoys global recognition as one of the most rapidly devolved countries in the world. The only Country to devolve 14 function at once. Nigeria, even as elder brothers have a lot they can adopt from Kenya.
Governor Lalong who is representing 19 other Governors from the Northern part of Nigeria agreed to deliver the message to his counterparts about Kericho's tasty tea among other products.

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