The Republic of Kenya on August 21, 2023, held a National Workshop on the preparation of a “Roadmap for Accelerating Development in the Borderlands of the Horn of Africa” in Nairobi. The Horn of Africa Initiative (HoAI) is supporting the preparation of the Roadmap.
The National Workshop was opened by the National Focal Point for Kenya, Dr Kenrick Ayot. In his remarks, Dr Ayot affirmed the need and importance for a coordinated approach to borderlands development given the interconnectedness of HoA countries.
Despite the existing opportunities in the borderland areas, Kenya and other countries in the region continue to face significant challenges, calling for ‘more to be done’, Dr Ayot noted. “While the devolved form of governance in the country has contributed to uplifting of standards of livelihood, Kenya shares a sizable portion of borders with other HoA member states, meaning it still faces unique developmental challenges, calling for collective approaches and coordinated measures”, he added. Dr Ayot thanked the World Bank Group for its continued support to the HoAI.
Several HoA countries have held national workshops (between July and August) to discuss and identify policy, institutional & investment priorities for HoAI borderlands, ahead of a regional workshop, scheduled for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, next week (August 27-29th, 2023).
The Nairobi workshop brought together multiple stakeholders/representatives from state and non-state actors. In attendance were representatives of the Ministries of Trade, Treasury and Economic Planning. Also present were senior officers from the State Department of Roads, Kenya Revenue Authority, representatives of the Council of Governors (CoG), Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) as well as Development Partners.
Discussions focused on key priorities for borderlands, including trade and mobility, transboundary resource management, peace, security and social cohesion. The discussants cited several security threats to Kenya’ borderlands’ clusters, calling for measures that embrace effective border management systems, and promote regional understanding of border insecurities, while facilitating regional trade, especially given the importance of small-scale trade for the livelihoods of women and youth across the region. The workshop emphasized the many initiatives which are already under way including: operationalizing One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) and technology, to achieve integration of customs systems/information exchange and deepen in-country and cross border security initiatives. The workshop also noted the importance of creating a cross-sectoral platform for policy and programmatic coordination on borderlands development.
Borderlands Development is critical for the HoA region and can help foster robust and resilient cross border trade and integrated markets. Developing Borderlands can also help address challenges around conflict/fragility, reduce food insecurity and harnesses underutilized resources.
The decision to develop the Borderlands Roadmap was made at the 16th Ministerial Meeting of the HoAI in April 2023, on the margins of the World Bank/IMF Spring meetings, and subsequently reiterated at the 17th HoAI Ministerial Meeting in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. The roadmap is expected to be discussed and endorsed at the 18th Ministerial meeting scheduled for Addis Ababa in October 2023.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Horn of Africa Initiative (HoAI) was launched in 2019 by the Finance Ministers of the five Horn of Africa countries — Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. The Initiative seeks to address common development challenges that hamper growth through regional, coordinated and concerted action among the countries. The mandate of HoAI is to support projects under four pillars: (i) improving regional infrastructure connectivity (transport corridors, energy and digital integration) (ii) promoting trade and economic integration (iii) building resilience and (iv) strengthening human capital development. Ethiopia is currently the Chair of the HoAI.
For more information, contact:
Horn of Africa Initiative Secretariat
Email: [email protected]