How counties can garner CAIPs’ economic benefits

President William Ruto in Nyamira

President William Ruto presides over the groundbreaking ceremony for Nyamira County Aggregation and Industrial Park on August 25, 2023.

Photo credit: Courtesy | PCS

In a dynamic move to revitalise Kenya’s economic landscape, more than 13 of the 47 counties have embarked on a groundbreaking initiative: County Aggregation and Industrial Parks (CAIPs). Spearheaded by the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, the collaborative effort aims at propelling manufacturing in the counties.

The signing of the Intergovernmental Partnership Agreement on November 22 between the ministry and governors was a milestone in collaboration between counties and the national government on CAIPs. The first CAIP was launched in Nyamira County by President William Ruto in August.

The national economic landscape, as indicated by the “2022 Economic Survey” report by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, underscores the significance of this initiative. Agriculture remains the dominant sector, contributing 21.2 per cent to GDP as industry-related activities account for 17.7 per cent.

CAIPs are designed to serve as hubs for collection, sorting, grading, cleaning, processing and packaging of agricultural products with a strong emphasis on value addition. They offer a solution to post-harvest losses during glut through cold storage to prevent produce waste and shield farmers from low prices.

With every county committing Sh250 million and the national government matching that, CAIPs have the necessary financial backing. One of their primary benefits is creation of a ready market for farmers. The processing section is crucial for value addition, opening up opportunities for branding and direct connections to local and international markets.

The ripple effect on youth employment is equally noteworthy. As industrial parks flourish, housing, schools and hospitals become imperative, leading to increased demand for local products and services. This surge in purchasing power, coupled with increased farmers’ earnings, is poised to create a thriving economic ecosystem.

CAIPs can revitalise the agricultural sector and drive agro-based manufacturing. But county governments to focus on some factors.

Efficient construction: Timely completion of CAIPs is paramount. Select competent contractors and ensure adherence to construction schedules and timelines within the stipulated three-year time frame. Incorporation of green energy, such as solar power, can reduce operation costs.

Strategic partnerships and investor engagement: Working with the ministry, counties should proactively create platforms for local and international investors to explore opportunities within the hubs. Dedicated local and international forums and investment conferences can be powerful tools to attract investors, fostering collaboration that transcends geographical boundaries.

Incentives for investment and favourable infrastructure: Counties should create a conducive regulatory environment, such as streamlined licensing processes and other financial incentives, to make investment in CAIPs more appealing. Essential supporting infrastructure, such as reliable road and rail transport networks, and efficient logistics are vital.

Stakeholder participation: Counties must prioritise comprehensive engagement strategies to ensure CAIPs’ benefits are widely distributed by involving farmers, local businesses and other stakeholders from the planning phase.

CAIPs can serve as beacons of economic growth, job creation and sustainable development.

- Mr Nyaribo is the Governor of Nyamira County. [email protected].