The Ag. County Executive Committee Member (CECM) of the Ministry of Trade, Gender and Youth Affairs, Emathe Namaur, led a team of senior county officials in the handing over ceremony of the Kakuma Biashara/Huduma Centre project site to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in order for the contractor to commence renovation works.

This follows the signing of a Kshs. 245 million ($2.45 million) a tripartite co-operation agreement on December 4th, 2020 between the County Government of Turkana, International Finance Corporation (IFC), and United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) aimed at jointly upgrading the County’s Citizen Resource Centre into a one-stop shop business development centre for national government services (Huduma Centre) and devolved business support services at Kabokorit area of Kakuma.

”We hope that the Kakuma Biashara Centre, a game changer, will serve as the benchmark for the rest of the eight biashara centres that the county government is set to operationalise. The construction of these centres is informed by Article 35 (Cap 4) of the Constitution under the Bill of Rights, which stipulates that every Kenyan citizen has the right to “access to information,” said CECM Namaur.

The Kakuma Biashara/Huduma Centre project is being implemented under the Private Sector & Enterpreneurship component, which contributes to the strategic objectives of the Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic Development (KISEDP), a multi-sectoral government led initiative informed by the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) to enhance socio-economic opportunities among the refugees and host communities.

Chief Officer of Economic Planning, Jeremiah Apalia said that the former citizen resource centre would eventually serve the purpose it was intended for by the county government.

He said, “transforming the centre into a Biashara/Huduma Centre means its purpose is now even bigger”.

The other citizen resource centres are located in Kerio, Lorugum, Luareng’ak, Katilu, Kanamkemer and Kaeris, and two are under construction in Kalokol and Lopuski.

“Today signifies a milestone for the establishment of an integrated biashara/huduma centre in Kakuma to provide one-stop services to refugees and locals. This is an important initiative for economic development,” said Kahin Ismail, Head of Sub-Office for UNHCR in Kakuma.

He appreciated the county government for its collaboration, coordination and support for the project.

“This business centre will afford an opportunity for refugees and host community to integrate harmoniously through engagement in entrepreneurship,” said the Refugees Affairs Secretariat (RAS) Camp Manager, Kasili Mutambo.

The Deputy County Commissioner of Turkana West Sub-county, Stephen Odeke Emojong, said that the national government would support the centre through secondment of staff for the Huduma Centre services.

In attendance were Ag. Chief Officer of Trade, James Lokwale; Director of Public Works, Eng. Kennedy Obong’o; Sub-county Administrator for Turkana West, Joshua Napoco Ekitela; Deputy Sub-county Admin, Philip Natapar; Maria Kiani, UNHCR Senior Development Officer; Berlin Adukan,  KNCCI Director (Youth Affairs) and representatives of the community.