Dakar, Senegal - The African Development Bank (AfDB) Wednesday signed a US$ 57.66-million loan agreement with the Kenyan government, bringing to US$ 3.04 billion the bank’s commitment to several sectors in Kenya, the AfDB disclosed in a statement, received here by PANA.
According to the statement, the loan agreement is in line with AfDB's multi-national Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Programme (DRSLP) in the Horn of Africa with the first phase benefiting Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.
The programme is said to be focusing on about four million beneficiaries in the first five years.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, AfDB Regional Director for the East Africa Resource Centre, Gabriel Negatu, reportedly explained that the entire programme would cover eight countries in the Horn of Africa over the next 15 years.
“It is necessary to have all the countries in the programme because if one country has better water, pasture and livestock services, the pastoralists will move there and this could lead to overgrazing, transmission of trans-boundary animal diseases and conflicts,' Negatu said.
'The next phase is expected to start as soon as funds are available for the remaining countries. This could be as early as end of 2013,” he added.
The AfDB statement further indicated that in Kenya, the project would cover six counties -- Baringo, Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana and West Pokot.
It said the programme will seek to provide assistance to enhance drought resilience and improve sustainable livelihoods of the communities in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya.
'In this regard, the project will contribute to the development of water supply and development and rehabilitation of irrigation schemes; improvement of livestock infrastructure and their management; and strengthening of both human and institutional capacity to improve operational capabilities in the project area,' the statement indicated.
AfDB also pointed out that the first phase would look at improving management of natural resources, livestock market infrastructure and agro-pastoralists’ livelihoods, among others.
The Horn of Africa is said to be a region that is often affected by severe, recurrent droughts and chronic food insecurity.
In 2011, the region faced the worst drought in decades that decimated crops and livestock, and left over 12 million people, mainly the pastoralist communities, in total distress across the affected region.
As such, during the African Union Summit in August 2011, AfDB 'reiterated its long-term commitment to provide support for a lasting solution to drought and to build resilience and improve sustainable livelihoods of the pastoral communities' in the Horn of Africa.