The Impact for Northern Kenya Fund has released over Ksh 290 million in loans to SMEs in West Pokot and Turkana counties.

The Fund, financed by USAID Kuza, has been working with enterprises in West Pokot and Turkana since 2022. This was highlighted during the Turkana and West Pokot County Investment Conference held in Lodwar, Turkana County.

So far, the fund has reached over 1,265 SMEs in West Pokot disbursing loans of over Ksh 233 million (USD 1.67 million). Additionally, 280 SMEs in Turkana County have benefited from over Ksh 58.7 million (USD 419,0000) in loans.

The Conference, under the theme Unveiling Opportunities: Redefining Northern Kenya as an Investable Destination, was attended by various stakeholders. About 300 investors, local entrepreneurs, government officials, and development partners assembled to discuss ways to unlock the vast investment potential of Turkana and West Pokot.

In the past, Kenya’s food security has been threatened by climate change, stagnating productivity against rapid population growth. With the agricultural sector employing over 75% of the population, poor agricultural productivity is linked to poverty, poor health, and conflict. The Conference sought to find solutions to address these issues, as well as grow the economy of the two counties.

Speaking at the conference, Wyanie Bright, USAID Kuza’s Chief of Party stated, “We are committed to working alongside local communities to strengthen entrepreneurship, local industries, and market systems. Through our Fund, we have financed over 1,500 enterprises in West Pokot and Turkana counties, who have in turn created over 2,000 new jobs in these counties.”

On his part, H.E. Dr. John Erus, the Deputy Governor of Turkana County said, “H.E. Governor Lomorukai agenda is to address inter-generational poverty through sustainable investment in socio-economic development in Agriculture, pastoral value chains, trade investment, and revitalizing education. The investment conference provides the foundation for setting the stage of Turkana County as an investment destination” .

On his part, H.E. Robert Komolle, the Deputy Governor of West Pokot County remarked on the high potential of tourism to transform the county’s economic fortunes. He also invited investors to look into construction of tourist resorts, lodges, and retreat centers.

USAID Kuza plans to host additional County Investment Conferences targeting Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu, Garissa, Lamu, Mandera, Tana River and Wajir Counties.