Kenya has signed a Sh34 billion financing agreement with Italy’s BNP Paribas and Intesa San Paolo banks for the construction of Itare Dam in Kuresoi.
The signing of the agreement at State House, Nairobi, was witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi after they held bilateral talks. The agreement brings Italy’s total financial assistance to Kenya to Sh59.3 billion.
The funds will cover the whole water project which consists of construction of the dam, a tunnel, raw water treatment of 100,000 cubic meters per day and laying of pipes. The dam will serve over 800,000 people in Kuresoi, Molo, Njoro, Rongai and Nakuru town.
Speaking during the bilateral talks that were attended by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Renzi agreed to strengthen cooperation between Kenya and Italy in security -especially in the fight against terrorism.
President Kenyatta welcomed more Italian companies to invest in Kenya, saying devolution has opened new investment opportunities in agriculture, infrastructure, energy, mining and manufacturing at the county level.
“We are keen on ensuring inclusive growth across Kenya,” President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta said the focus should not only be on multinational firms but also on the small and medium companies, saying “they are the real engine that drive the economy”.
The two leaders also discussed ways of showcasing Kenya as a preferred tourist destination, noting that Italy has vast tourist interests in the Kenyan Coastal region especially Malindi.
Prime Minister Renzi said Italy has a thriving SME sector and is willing to share its experience with Kenya for the benefit of the people of the two countries.
The Italian Prime Minister, who was in the country on a two-day official visit, was accompanied by Italy’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mario Giro, International Economic Affairs Adviser Prof Marco Simoni, ENI Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi and ENEL Green Power Chief Executive Francesco Venturi.
Kenya and Italy enjoy cordial relations and cooperation which date back to 1966. Italian assistance to Kenya is in the form of grants, concessional loans and technical assistance.