A meeting was held on February 2019 between the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), of which CIArb Kenya is an active member, and the Ministry of Devolution and ASAL. The main focus of the meeting was to seek views of the private sector on economic blocs policy. The policy document was expected to be officially launched during the 6th devolution conference on 4th-8th March 2019 in Kirinyaga County. The meeting was chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Eugene Wamalwa with Principal Secretary-Devolution, Mr. Sunkuli.

KEPSA and Ministry of Devolution and Planning held a Ministerial Stakeholders Forum on February 2019. The meeting was chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Eugene Wamalwa Also in attendance was the Permanent Secretary, State Department of Devolution, Mr. Sunkuli. The main agenda was to review the Public Private Dialogue engagements that KEPSA has had with the Ministry, progress made and the way forward.

The private sector was concerned about regular conflicts and litigations witnessed during the transition phase to devolved system that had a bearing on cost of doing business in the country in the form of delayed projects, low investor confidence, amongst many others. The Devolution Policy on Devolved System of Government launched in March 2017, called for a raft of measures to be undertaken such the formation of an Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism Committee which had developed ADR regulations.  From the first residential stakeholders forum on intergovernmental alternative dispute resolution mechanisms that took place on 24th – 2th April 2017, a great deal of progress has been made since then including country-wide validation involving key stakeholders.

The formation of County Economic Blocs is a result of the appreciation that regional development is a core pillar of economic development in Kenya and that our counties are vital drivers of the country’s economy and county integration can provide the critical leverage necessary to realize economic growth. The purpose of the policy is to improve the implementation of the devolved system of government in order to achieve optimal service delivery. It is intended to guide both levels of government to align their policies to the devolved system of government.

CIArb Branch Committee member, Mr. Andrew Waruhiu was on hand to brief the CS on the challenges the private sector faced in intergovernmental relations and advocated for the continued use of ADR in the provision for settlement of inter and intra (economic bloc) county disputes. With the formation of the county economic blocs, the adoption and implementation of ADR will need to be enhanced to make the blocs attractive to FDI and bring down the cost of doing business. The CS noted with concern the crippling cost of litigation currently experienced in all counties and called for mechanisms to reduce these costs so that they can be used for development. The CS was also briefed on the latest developments of the ADR regulations. The institute played a pivotal role in the development of these regulations and is ready to be presented to the Summit. Once adopted, the ADR regulations will go through parliament and be passed into law. The CS assured the team that ADR has been given priority as it is a cross-cutting issue and will be a substantive item moving forward. The Institute hopes that once the regulations are anchored in law, it will play an instrumental part in an initiating sensitization campaigns, developing national capacity building initiatives for the two levels of government and provide support in the formation of dispute resolution committees to resolve intergovernmental and inter-county disputes.