Ford Foundation has committed Sh18 million towards strengthening operations of Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB). Regional director, Eastern Africa Maurice Makoloo said that the funds will be released as a grant in due time to support establishment of the bloc’s secretariat.
He said the organisation is keen to cement partnership with the bloc in the implementation of projects aimed at improving livelihoods within the lake region. Makoloo said the foundation has played a leading role in the bloc’s integration processes which include developing its economic blueprint.
The Foundation has re-committed itself to continue giving direct support to the bloc as it seeks to realise its progressive operations,” he said after a meeting with nine governors of the LREB in Kisumu yesterday.
The bloc’s chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said the money earmarked would enable them to set up a fully operational secretariat and the pillar committees. He said the bloc has been operating with a temporary secretariat office in Kisumu.
The Kakamega governor said once the secretariat is fully in place the bloc’s counties will second staff to the office to help in running of programmes and projects.
“We have also agreed to explore more opportunities for further partnership as we progress with the plans to institutionalise the bloc, mobilise resources towards implementation of projects identified in our economic blue print and the pillar communities,” said Oparanya.
He added that the bloc will organise a sensitisation programme for the respective LREB county assemblies in order to enlighten them on its main objectives and proposed projects.
The bloc has 14 member counties comprising Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Bomet, Kericho, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga and Busia.
Oparanya said the bloc is aimed at formulating a joint economic strategy to fast-track development of collective investments to enable the counties implement big projects.