The Government recognizes the need to address inequalities and vulnerabilities in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALS). In a bold move towards realization of this, the Government, through Executive Order No. 1 of June 2018 (Revised), established the State Department for Development of the ASALS (SDDA) to coordinate overall planning and development of policies for arid and semi-arid lands.
The creation of SDDA demonstrates the Government’s commitment to accelerate development of the regions. The Department has prioritized the following key result areas: coordination of development in ASALS; resilience building; socio-cultural integration; and governance.
The ASALs make up to 89% of the Country with approximately 38% of Kenya’s Population. These regions are home to more than 90% of the wildlife that supports the tourism industry, contributing to 12% of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The ASAL regions host 70% of the National Livestock herd with an estimated value of Ksh.70 billion. Further, they have enormous potential for renewable energy (both solar and wind) and other natural resources and are as well strategically positioned for cross-border trade and social cultural interaction with Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Somalia.
In spite of these advantages, the ASAL regions have the lowest development indicators in the country. The Government of Kenya recognizes the potential contribution of ASALs towards achievement of Vision 2030 Strategy and the Big 4 Agenda.
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