Counties have seen the importance of forming economic/ regional blocs as a way of maximising on opportunities for development.
Many counties have hosted several investment forums as a way of showcasing their investment potential. This is an acknowledgement that investments will play a key role in the realisation of the Vision 2030 development blueprint.
Its in this context that the county governments of Trans Nzoia and Bungoma have organised international investor conferences in March and April respectively as a way of highlighting the investment opportunities in the regions and what they have done to improve the ease of doing business.
Both counties have already done mapping of the resources available and the investment portfolios in the regions, with the support of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Kenya Investment Authority.
The county governments aim of improving the investment environment in the region is meant to broaden engagement framework with all stakeholders including the public and private sector; development partners who will play and contribute to socio-economic transformation of the county.
A recent report by Deloitte East Africa on the Lake Victoria Basin Economic Blueprint noted that the longer-term economic transformation of the Lake Basin region depends on the extent to which the counties and their leadership have a shared vision for regional transformation and positive competition.
Governors Patrick Khaemba and Ken Lusaka have pledged that they will ensure that the outcomes of the investor conferences are implemented and through the involvement of KNCCI and Kenya Invest, ensure the business community participates.
The region is in close proximity to Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region, which are potential markets.
The Lake Basin also has access to well developed transportation routes into the Comesa and SADC regions. In addition, it shares natural resources like Lake Victoria, rivers (Yala, Nzoia) and mountains (Mt. Elgon).
The blueprint notes that the Lake Basin region has a very high agricultural potential. The soil is good, and rainfall levels are also relatively high while the Western Tourism Circuit, now known as the Lake Victoria Kenya Tourism Circuit , has enormous potential.
Key areas of potential include nature and wildlife; agro-tourism; water sports among other cultural heritage activities.
A number of financial institutions have set up base in the region. However there is limited access to appropriate business advisory services.
This has slowed down development and county governments must prioritise and put more resources in developing the infrastructure.
Hopefully, the county governments will ensure that they create an enabling environment for investors, by providing leadership, conducive regulatory regime and invest in improving infrastructures that investors require.