Ten counties in the North and North Eastern Kenya will benefit from a Sh120 billion World Bank funded kitty for projects to plug gaps of development.
Under the banner of North and North Eastern Development Initiative (NEDI) covering Mandera, Garissa, Isiolo, Lamu, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana, Wajir and West Pokot, the counties will receive funds to support off grid solar access for the underserved counties, climate smart agriculture, water and sanitation development.
Cabinet Secretary for Devolution, Eugene Wamalwa, blamed systematic marginalisation on the Sessional Paper Number 10 which profiled northern Kenya as unproductive with harsh climate.
Speaking at Garissa University grounds as the NEDI project was launched, Mr Wamalwa who read President Uhuru Kenyatta's message said the Jubilee administration will support projects in marginalised areas.
Uhuru reiterated Jubilee's commitment to removing bottlenecks to donor projects arguing focus will be on infrastructure to achieve targets of Vision 2030 to improve living standards.
The World Bank is already investing about 20 per cent close of its current $6.9 billion commitments in the north and north eastern counties.
Ms Helene Carrison Rex, the Programme leader for NEDI from the World Bank, said the aim of funds is to attract investments to the region to complement ongoing government efforts to improve equity and reduce extreme poverty.
Similarly, earmarked for funding is the North Eastern Transport Improvement Project, the Development of response to displacement impacts projects and national safety net Programme additional financing.
Governors Ali Roba (Mandera), Ali Korane (Garissa), Josephat Nanok (Turkana) Hassan Abdi (Wajir), Mohammed Kuti (Isiolo) Mohamud Mohamed Ali (Marsabit) were joined by Cabinet Secretaries Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution) and Ukur Yatani (Labour) in the launch of the initiative in Garissa.
They urged donors and investors to inject fresh life into the counties that have suffered marginalisation since independence.
They also underscored the need for increased access to modern energy services to households.
"After devolution, this is the second largest transformative project in the region and residents now have a feeling of inclusivity and will have profound impact on populations," said Mr Roba who is also the chairman of the Frontier Counties Development Council.
Governors Roba and Korane said the region had turned away investors because of lack of basic infrastructure. They mentioned poor roads, absence electricity to support cottage industries and manufacturing as enshrined in the Big Four agenda.
The governors however lauded how the Isiolo-Moyale road has opened up trade and investments in the region previously shunned because poor transport infrastructure.
The leaders said the narrative of the Northern Kenya and North Eastern areas of Kenya as insecure, underdeveloped and unattractive for investors needed to be changed.
The projects will seek to improve water supply and sanitation in Mandera Town, Wajir, town and Dadaab communities.
The projects also seeks to increase agricultural productivity and build resilience to climate change risks in the targeted smallholder farming and pastoral communities.
Similarly, captured for the pastoralist communities is a project seeking to increase livestock productivity and open up market access.
Financing will be at community level and at county government level investments to finance larger sub projects.