MY SPEECH AS FRONTIER COUNTIES DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL CHAIRMAN DURING THE SENSITIZATION MEETING ON FCDC BILL FOR SPEAKERS, MAJORITY AND MINORITY LEADERS OF COUNTY ASSEMBLIES HELD AT CRADLE HOTEL IN LODWAR, TURKANA ON 10TH SEPTEMBER 2019.
HON. SPEAKERS FROM THE 10 COUNTY ASSEMBLIES
HON. LEADERS OF MAJORITY AND MINORITY PARTIES IN OUR FCDC ASSEMBLIES
FCDC CEO AND SECRETARIAT OFFICIALS
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Let me take this early opportunity to welcome you all to the FCDC family as we start a new journey seeking to anchor the economic bloc in law -a mandate of our distinguished 10 county assemblies.
Excellency Governors, Honourable Speakers, Majority and Minority leaders allow me to give you a brief history of FCDC.
The Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) was formed by Governors of the counties of Garissa, Isiolo, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Tana River and Wajir as a regional grouping to coordinate, facilitate and promote social and economic transformation of the region. These original seven
(7) Counties occupy 267,859.6 square kilometers equivalent to 46 percent of Kenya’s land area and 6 percent of the population. The subsequent entry of West Pokot, Samburu and Turkana into the bloc has raised the landmass of the region to 63 percent of the Country and 10 percent of the national population.
The uniqueness of FCDC region is that its member counties have been politically and economically marginalized since the colonial period, and to date, their socio-economic development outcomes lag those of the rest of the country.
Last year, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics profiled our counties as harboring poor people compared to the rest of Kenya. On average about 68 percent of the population live below the poverty line compared to a national average of 45 percent. Similarly, the region experiences low literacy rates and poor access to health, water and sanitation, energy and ICT services.
Our counties are vulnerable to disasters when drought strikes as we are experiencing it now with our resilient people are losing animals. We have limited access to basic services such as health and education. Road network is poor or non-existent and electricity access is only 7 per cent. A paltry 26 per cent have access to improved sanitation. Less than half of the residents of FCDC counties have access to clean and safe water, to be precise just 45 per cent. Our Counties equally face serious capacity constraints.
Today, our region remains isolated from the rest of the country due to poor roads and other infrastructure. While greater effort has been directed towards promoting economic development of the region over the last decade, the effort is a long way from achieving its objective. The introduction of the devolved system of governance is however beginning to make a major difference in this region. And that marked progress is because of the efforts of county governments working in tandem with County Assemblies to deliver services to our people.
Excellency Governors, Honourable Speakers, and County Assembly leaders, we request your support and commitment towards passing of a single identical bill to be introduced in all member county
assemblies to anchor this economic bloc in law and position our counties strategically for development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
A stronger and more integrated economic bloc is a solid foundation for our people and for generations that will come after us. This bill will give us more negotiation powers, and strengthen the FCDC Secretariat to attract resources and
investments to our counties. The objective of this Bill is to provide for the establishment, powers and functions of the Frontier Counties Development Council. The establishment and operationalization of the Council shall increase the levels of development in the member counties, enhance efficiency in revenue generation, resource mobilization and mapping for the member counties and set standard policies, capacity building, dispute resolution and capacity building within the member counties.
Today, our counties are getting attention and support from development partners unlike before. FCDC has worked very closely and will continue to do so with various development partners including the World Bank, UNDP, EU, USaid, The Swiss Development Corporation DFID, the National Government of Kenya and many potential partners. Significantly the (North and North Eastern Development Initiative) NEDI Project shall have a profound impact.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Judging from the achievements since the formation of this economic bloc we are seeing a lot of positives in our counties, which were neglected and excluded for over 50 years since independence.
Through World Bank we have seen the North Eastern Development Initiative (NEDI) which will invest over 100 million dollars in our counties. We are seeing the North Eastern Transport Infrastructure Project (NETIP) which will open a 740-milometre-road corridor between Isiolo and Mandera. Very soon you will see advertisements for contractors to construct this road which will be a game changer.
Finally Ladies and gentlemen,
Having explained the need for strengthening FCDC and anchoring it in law, I say that UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL. I wish you fruitful discussions as we look forward to endorsements of the bill in each county assembly and await its enactment, which will be a milestone for our counties and people.
Thank you and May God Bless You All.