MSMEs From Turkana, West Pokot Benefit From Ksh290M In Loans From USAID Kuza

Ronald Musundi, Investment Manager ,Impact for Northern Kenya Fund
Ronald Musundi, Investment Manager ,Impact for Northern Kenya Fund. [Photo/USAID KUZA]

Over 1,500 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in West Pokot and Turkana counties have received over Ksh290 million in loans from the Impact for Northern Kenya Fund, an impact investing vehicle financed by USAID Kuza. This was highlighted during the Turkana and West Pokot County Investment Conference held in Lodwar, Turkana County today.

The Impact for Northern Kenya Fund (“the Fund”) is a $30 million impact investment wholesale financing vehicle that lends catalytic capital to financial institutions and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As a USAID program-related investment vehicle, the Fund finances clients that are drivers of economic and social growth.

The Fund which has been working with enterprises in West Pokot and Turkana since 2022, has reached over 1,265 MSMEs in West Pokot disbursing loans of over $1.67 million (Ksh233 M). Further, 280 MSMEs in Turkana County have benefited from over $419,0000 (Ksh58.7 M) in loans.

Wyanie Bright, USAID Kuza’s Chief of Party, noted, “We are committed to working alongside local communities to strengthen entrepreneurship, local industries, and market systems. Through our Fund, we have financed over 1,500 enterprises in West Pokot and Turkana counties, who have in turn created over 2,000 new jobs in these counties. The success of our strategy lies in empowering the private sector with appropriate and affordable capital, which ensures long-term sustainability and self-reliance for the region”.

The Turkana & West Pokot County Investment Conference under the theme Unveiling Opportunities: Redefining Northern Kenya as an Investable Destination brought together approximately 300 investors, local entrepreneurs, government officials, and development partners to discuss ways to unlock the vast investment potential of Turkana and West Pokot. Climate-smart agriculture, renewable energy, livestock value-addition, and tourism emerged key areas of interest among investors looking to establish a foothold in the two counties.

Key discussions on climate-resilient agricultural practices took place including sustainable farming practices, irrigation projects, post-harvest value-addition, and ways to improve livestock productivity through breeding and commercialization. In the past, Kenya’s food security has been threatened by climate change, stagnating productivity against rapid population growth. With the agricultural sector employing over 75% of the population, poor agricultural productivity is linked to poverty, poor health, and conflict.

Speaking during the Investment Conference, Dr John Erus, the Deputy Governor of Turkana County said: “H.E. Governor Lomorukai agenda is to address intergenerational poverty through sustainable investment in socio-economic development in Agriculture, pastoral value chains, trade investment, and revitalizing education. The investment conference provides the foundation for setting the stage of Turkana County as an investment destination”.

On his part, H.E. Robert Komolle, the Deputy Governor of West Pokot County remarked on the high potential of tourism to transform the county’s economic fortunes. He invited investors to look into the construction of tourist resorts, lodges, and retreat centres. This tourism theme was accentuated by speakers during the conference emphasizing the need to embrace sustainable approaches to conservation and integrate community-led efforts to capitalize on cultural heritage for inclusive growth.

Discussions during the Turkana & West Pokot County Investment Conference also addressed some solutions to overcoming market access and finance challenges, the need for peace-building initiatives in creating a stable investment environment, and how to leverage technology and nurture talent among the youth in West Pokot and Turkana counties.

USAID Kuza plans to host additional County Investment Conferences targeting Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu, Garissa, Lamu, Mandera, Tana River, and Wajir Counties.

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