NAIROBI, June 12 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank will finance various energy, water and infrastructure projects in northern Kenya worth 1.1 billion U.S. dollars totally, an official has said.
State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu told journalists on Sunday that the government was committed to the development of the northern region where World Bank will launch its Northeastern Kenya Development Initiative.
His remarks came after visiting World Bank Vice-President for Africa Region, Mokhtar Diop, held talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi on Sunday.
Espisu said World Bank will finance an Offgrid Solar Energy Access project, which will provide solar energy access to households, public institutions such as health centers, educational institutions in 14 counties in northern Kenya.
"Key features of the program include incentivizing private companies to expand into these counties, developing mechanisms to make solar products more affordable to consumers without distorting the commercial market and supporting the enforcement of quality standards for solar products," he said.
He added the project was expected to create jobs in operation and maintenance of the solar systems to youth.
World Bank will also finance a Climate Smart Agriculture project which is expected to increase agricultural productivity and build resilience to climate risks among smallholder farming and pastoral communities in northern Kenya.
"Farmers and pastoralists will be assisted with improved agricultural technologies, innovations and management practices. It will also improve access to quality agro-weather and market information to enable farmers and herders to make decisions that are more economically advantageous," Esipisu said.
The program will also support the strengthening of crop and livestock insurance to reduce production risks, he said.
The bank will also finance the construction of a 500 million dollar Isiolo-Mandera Road, which will be a critical road for opening up northeastern Kenya and connecting it to central Kenya.
"This intervention is conceived as a development corridor and as such, fiber optic cables will be provided to ensure the region's digital connection and airstrips will also be built for flight connections," Esipisu said.s.
Another World Bank-financed road project -- the construction of a portion of the 258 km Eldoret-Juba Road stretch -- will begin in August.
"The World Bank is financing the development of 5 mini grids in Tana River, Turkana and Marsabit counties, which are expected to be commissioned by August 2017," said the spokesman.
He said the minigrids will be powered by hybrid generation systems (mostly solar PV and diesel) and will supply villages of 150 to 400 households that cannot be economically served by the national grid in the short and medium term.