Isiolo, Marsabit And Samburu County Investment Conference To Focus On Sustainable Tourism, Trade, Livestock And Agriculture Development

Samburu warriors joining a traditional dance
Samburu warriors joining a traditional dance. [Photo/Courtesy]

The County Governments of Isiolo, Marsabit, and Samburu have announced a joint investment conference to be held in Isiolo town on July 11, 2024.

The conference aims to highlight opportunities and constraints for investment in these counties and link regional entrepreneurs with potential investors.

“The investment opportunities in Isiolo lie in climate-smart agriculture and livestock production systems. Our people have large herds of livestock such as cattle, and camels, and the need to increase their incomes necessitated the establishment of a modern abattoir. In line with this, investors can look into establishing a leather tannery adjacent to the abattoir linking it to our international airport,” Abdi Ibrahim Hassan, Governor, of Isiolo County noted.

“Tourism is also a great investment opportunity seeing as Isiolo boasts of game reserves notably Shaba, Buffalo Springs, and Bisanadi. Our beautiful county also boasts of an impressive landscape and ranges of hills: The sleeping Lion and Tortoise Hill around Shaba Game Reserve are features that provide investment space for tented camps and bandas. Isiolo is also home to the Special Five namely the Reticulated Giraffe, Grevys Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Beisa Oryx, and Gerenuk Antelope which are an attraction to tourists in large numbers.”

Key discussions during the Isiolo, Marsabit, and Samburu County Investment Conference will be around developing the lucrative tourism sector, advancing livestock development, supporting sustainable and climate-smart agriculture, enhancing climate resilience, and exploring trade opportunities among communities in this region.

“Tourism has the biggest potential in Marsabit. It has enormous tourism and many world-class attractions: Koobi Fora, a world-renowned cluster of archaeological sites, Lake Turkana, Chalbi Desert, Lake Paradise, Central and Southern islands, petrified forests, Marsabit National Park, and Mt. Marsabit tropical rainforest. The County is also home to the Grevy’s zebra, one of the rarest zebra species in the world,” says Ali Mohamud Mohamed, Marsabit Governor.

“The only desert museum in East Africa is also found in Marsabit. The county also aims to set up a milk collection and aggregation centre. As for the abattoir, investors are to procure and install meat processing facilities, and construct and establish livestock holding centres as this will go a long way in uplifting the livestock industry”.

The conference under the theme Unveiling Opportunities: Redefining Northern Kenya as an Investable Destination will bring together approximately 300 investors, local entrepreneurs, government officials, and development partners to discuss ways to unlock the vast investment potential of Isiolo, Marsabit, and Samburu counties.

Other areas of discussion during the Isiolo, Marsabit, and Samburu County Investment Conference will include incorporating a gender and youth perspective into development initiatives and overcoming barriers for farmers and pastoralists to access markets and finance.

There lie numerous tourist attractions in Samburu ranging from majestic wildlife, spectacular landscapes, unique conservation-based sporting events and diverse cultures. In addition to the Maralal International Camel Derby held annually, the County will host the Maa Cultural Week in November 2024. Tourism is the biggest contributor of own-source revenue in Samburu County,” Jonathan Lati Lelelit, Governor, Samburu County said.

“The county also has huge agricultural potential. Large-scale livestock keeping and maize, wheat and barley farming are also potential areas for investment in the county. Doing business in Samburu County is easy given that there are reduced license fees for business and a one-stop shop for licensing. There lie countless opportunities and huge potential for investment in Samburu County.”

Grevy's Zebra grazing in Samburu National Reserve
Grevy’s Zebra grazing in Samburu National Reserve. [Photo/Courtesy]

USAID Kuza is a key facilitator for the Isiolo, Marsabit, and Samburu County Investment Conference.

“Historically characterized by challenges such as limited infrastructure, arid landscapes, and socio-economic disparities these northern Kenya counties have often been overlooked in discussions about investment and development. However, recent years have witnessed significant shifts in perceptions and realities within the region. By shedding light on these opportunities, the forum aims to challenge outdated perceptions and showcase Northern Kenya as a dynamic investment hub across various sectors,” Venny Mayaka, the Deputy Chief of Party, USAID Kuza remarked.

Aligned with USAID’s Private Sector Engagement Policy, USAID Kuza employs market-based approaches to accelerate Northern Kenya’s self-reliance through building resilience and reducing the need for humanitarian assistance.

The program works in 10 arid and semi-arid counties of northern Kenya (Garissa, Isiolo, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana, Wajir, and West Pokot). USAID Kuza also manages the Impact for Northern Kenya Fund an impact investment wholesale financing vehicle that lends catalytic capital to financial institutions and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The conference in Isiolo is part of a series of investment conferences supported by USAID Kuza across different Northern Kenya Counties this year.

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