Governor Lomorukai launches new Biashara Centre in Kakuma to boost access to business services
Kabokorit-Kakuma, 3rd May 2023 (Governor’s Press Service)
County Government has launched a new Biashara Centre in the Kakuma-Kalobeyei refugee-hosting area. The centre will provide essential government and business services under one roof to both Kenyans and refugees and serve as a single point of access for county government services.
The facility is an initiative by the Turkana County Government in partnership with IFC’s Kakuma Kalobeyei Challenge Fund (KKCF) and UNHCR and will serve as a single point of access for County Government services
The project was also supported by the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development through KfW.
During the launch, Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai said the opening of the new Biashara Centre is part of the county government’s commitment to fostering the growth of small businesses and enabling increased private investment that will create jobs.
He said, “The new centre will make it faster, easier, and cheaper to access government services, which include registering businesses, applying for permits, and requesting small business loans through the Biashara and the Youth and Women Empowerment Fund. Additionally, the centre will provide business development services among others.”
The Governor stated that the establishment of the new Kakuma municipality will create a conducive environment for business and investment, leading to the creation of employment opportunities for both the host community and refugees.
He called for collaborative partnerships with development partners, emphasizing the need for partners to work with respective departments in their mandates. He also expressed his intent to review the MOUs of all partner organizations and insisted on the 70% local employment requirement.
He urged partners to focus on recovery programs that rebuild livelihoods after the drought. He reiterated the need for resilience-focused programs that promote food security and reduce the reliance on relief food.
The county boss also called on partners to support cross-border peace initiatives to boost trade with neighbouring countries, Uganda and South Sudan.
Turkana West MP Daniel Epuyo appreciated the county government for conferring municipality status to Kakuma. His Turkana Central counterpart Emathe Namuar highlighted the journey taken to make the project a success and acknowledged that once operational, the facility will be the first Huduma/Biashara Centre in Kenya.
Maarten Brouwer, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Kenya, said, “The Biashara centre represents the building bridges between the host community and refugees by generating opportunities and building more economic activities. I envision the centre unlocking enterprise opportunities as it has brought the national and county services under one roof and closer to the people.”
EU Head of Cooperation Irene Giribaldi said the centre will empower the host community and refugees to be self-sufficient with sustainable livelihoods and entrepreneurship by fostering new business opportunities.
Terhas Berhe, UNHCR Senior Operations Coordinator, termed the launch as timely with the conferment of municipality status to Turkana. IFC Country Manager for Kenya Amena Arif acknowledged that the centre would bring services closer to the people of Turkana West and reiterated the organisation’s commitment to unlocking the business potential of the region.
Senior County Government officials present included County Secretary Peter Eripete, County Executives Elizabeth Loote (Trade), Patrick Losike (Infrastructure), Dr Michael Eregae (Finance) and Dr Iris Mariao (Tourism); Chief Officers Mark Amiyo (Ag- Trade) and Peter Lomorukai (Preventive and Promotive Services); County Solicitor Ruth Emanikor; Director of Trade James Lokwale; Advisors Amb. Richard Ekai (Economic) and Ekiru Tulele (Legal), Turkana West Sub-County Admin Christine Nalemsekon among others.
MCAs accompanying the Governor included Eliud Emoni (Kakuma), Gilbert Topos (Lopur), Vincent Ekipor (Lokichoggio) and a host of nominated members.