•The five-year term pact between USAID and Kisumu seeks to bridge the resource gap and enable the counties to build the necessary capacity to deliver on the devolved functions.
•USAID Mission Director Mark Meassick said the MoU reflects their shared vision for devolution in Kisumu that meets the county residents' needs as it aims to boost service delivery and economy.
The US and Kisumu county government have signed a five-year memorandum to promote devolution in the county.
The pact between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Kisumu seeks to bridge the resource gap and enable the county to build the necessary capacity to deliver on the devolved functions.
USAID mission director Mark Meassick said the MoU reflects their shared vision for devolution in Kisumu that meets the county residents' needs as it aims to boost service delivery and economy.
The MoU was signed by Meassick and Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong'o. The budget will be shared between the two partners.
Kisumu is among the focus counties under the US Government's Prosper Africa initiative to increase two-way trade and investment between the US and Kenya at the county level.
“The United States government is shifting the way we work. We want our programmes to be co-created, co-implemented, and co-measured to address problems and solve them at the county level,” Meassick said.
The MoU, he said, provides a framework to guide the new way USAID and Kisumu government will do business together, including aligning activities, plans, and budgets.
Others are designing new programmes and priorities together, jointly monitoring and evaluating them, and working together to counter corruption and protect beneficiaries.
USAID’s new policy is to end the need for foreign assistance by transforming the relationships among the public, civil society, and private sectors to generate opportunities for all Kenyans.
Under the policies, Meassick said Americans and Kenyans will accelerate the county’s journey to self-reliance.
Through the initiative, the US government will partner with the counties and the private sector to enhance self-reliance by contributing to job creation, economic growth, and expanding tax revenues in Kenya’s secondary cities and rural areas.
“The US government intends to bring the full range of its technical resources and tools to support the goals of each county as laid on its proposal,” Meassick added.
He said they are committed to ensuring the relationship between the US government and Kisumu is not only based on the transaction but on the transformation of partnership with the county.
Meassick said they focus on trade, mutual benefits and bringing business to Kenya.
Governor Nyong’o said the MoU underscores the faith and support that the US Government has for devolution in Kenya.
“We want our county to have strong trade initiatives that will help developed Kisumu and create wealth,” he said.
He noted that the partnership will greatly enhance the county’s ability and capacity to develop its institutions to respond to the needs of the people of Kisumu.
It will focus on agriculture and health sectors among others. Nyong’o also rooted for the farming of BT cotton, which he said is diseases resistance, noting the revival of the cotton sector will create employment opportunities as well as wealth.
Nyando MP Jared Okello and Kisumu speaker Elisha Oraro pledged legislative support to facilitate the speedy implementation of the MoU.
Okello said he was optimist the new deal would end the local farmers' agony of exaggerated production cost and poor harvest through extensive investment in research and extension services.
Eight counties, including Isiolo, Kakamega, Kiambu, Kisii, Makueni, Mombasa and Nakuru, have been chosen for the piloting of the USAID programme, with agriculture and health sectors identified as the launching pads in Kisumu.