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Moving beyond the rhetoric: the challenge of reform in Kenya’s drylands

Michael Ochieng Odhiambo

IIED Briefing, 4 pages

It is now acknowledged that Kenya cannot achieve its development targets unless there are appropriate investments in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs). Covering two-thirds of the country, the ASALs can make a significant contribution to national development. Failure to integrate them into the national economy is perhaps the
main reason for the failure of national development since independence.

Investing in the ASALs is now a constitutional imperative that is binding on the government. The institutional foundations for integrating the ASALs into national development are also now in place. What remains to be overcome are the persistent negative narratives about the ASALs that have traditionally held back their development, and for all concerned actors to translate the policy reforms into actual benefits for the ASALs and the country as a whole.

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Drylands policy in Africa and Asia usually tries to resolve perceived problems, bringing productivity, order and stability to what policymakers mistakenly see as marginal, disorganised and unstable environments.

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