Harnessing our potentials, Growing Together
North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB) is borne of the realization that we are faced with similar challenges as a region, whose solutions lie in unity of purpose in harnessing of our joint economic power, potentials and resources. Our challenges and opportunities transcend physical and administrative boundaries.
Vision 2030 asks of us to appreciate the unique resources available in our counties and utilize them to uplift ourselves and neighbors. In so doing, we will ultimately uplift our country. The facilities and resources that we have in the North Rift can enable us to make our region a major tourism and economic hub by developing unique products and using the economies of scale to catapult ourselves to higher levels.
Challenges, opportunities and potential are fluid matters that do not recognize physical, political or social boundaries. For instance aridity and desertification drives neighbor across the border in search of pastures and water resulting in unwelcome struggle for the little that is (in that case) available leading to cases of cross-border insecurity.
Poor transport infrastructure in one county causes delay and/or slow delivery of goods and services, which means poor productivity or higher market prices in the targeted county.
Differences in levies along county boundaries, and un-uniform cost of doing business in our counties makes it difficult for an investor to look at the 10 Million plus North Rift population as a single market worth investing in – yet we all are seeking for one and the same investor or group of investors.
North Rift Economic Bloc is a realization of the saying ‘I Am because We Are’. We seek to build on the competitive advantages of differing economies of the counties through fostering intra-regional trade and taking advantage of economies of scale from various counties.
We seek to obliterate our economic problems by allowing each county maximize their productivity without competing with the neighbor as we have always done.
While competition is welcome it has often resulted in market lock-jams especially in cereals, livestock and sports yet each county has specialty areas of focus even within these products and resources. Even more astounding is the fact that we have a lot more beyond the mentioned areas to help us diversify.
The diverse climatic conditions enables us produce a wide range of products while the different levels of infrastructural development also allows some to focus on mass productivity while others focus on value addition and provision of access to national and international markets.
This is the spirit of unity in diversity – the very same spirit that saw our forefather realize they could travel from Kerio valley, across Uasin Gishu plateau into Nandi during seasons of unbearable famine.
There are certain areas within the region that experience famine and persistent drought hence there is need to undertake joint ventures to militate against effects of climate change.
North Rift Economic Bloc will endeavor to undertake common interests needing joint approaches such as agro-industrial, sport as well as tourism branding of the region.
The North Rift region borders and is a gateway to the EAC partner states and offers an outlet to the COMESA member states we therefore have a higher purpose in fostering and sustaining the longevity of The East African trading bloc.
The combined market of the COMESA states is about 400 million people. This proximity offers market to the regions’ goods and services. Products from this region transverses our counties on a daily basis – and now we are set to exert more influence into this market with expected production of oil as well as energy in Turkana, Elgeiyo Marakwet and Baringo counties.
The North Rift Trading Bloc is the owner(s) and gate-keepers of the breathtaking world wonder that is the Rift Valley escarpment. Our counties share administrative boundaries and communities along the boundaries share similar traditions and customs making it a seamless aspect of collaboration.
As we notice from the perspective of our resources, people and culture we have no option other than come together as a united trading bloc so we can face our future with a sense of purpose and greater strength to surmount our challenges.
The bloc is expected to act as a one-stop shop for investors seeking opportunities in the region. The integration will enable individual counties that are sometimes too small to leverage economies of scale, to jointly implement large projects.
H.E. Hon. Jackson K. Arap Mandago, EGH
GOVERNOR, UASIN GISHU COUNTY – INTERIM CHAIR, NOREB