Moses Chebor, the CEO of the Eldama Ravine-based Boresha Sacco, believes in cooperatives to improve the economies of the newly created counties, to empower rural communities and to fight poverty.

Machakos and FDIs

Anyone who has been watching County Governments struggle to attract the elusive Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) doesn’t need much to be persuaded by Mr. Chebor’s logic.

Machakos  was the first county to hold an investor conference to publicize its investment potential. Many incentives, including offers of free land were announced. And many potential investors signed up. Some like the Nairobi Hospital even went ahead to put billboards announcing their intention to set up shop in  Machakos.

Eventually, no one came to invest. Those promises have become more of an embarrassment to Dr. Alfred Mutua’s Government than a source of pride.

Nyeri County and Investing

But Counties are full of imitators—sometimes pushed by their people as was the case in Nyeri where Governor Nderitu Gachagua, had to tell the Nyeri people that the situation of Machakos was different from that of Nyeri. That is the key reason why we believe that local people — read entrepreneurs— are best suited to develop their counties.

But these entrepreneurs suffer from certain limitations—lack of information about the resources available and how to exploit them in addition to lack of finance.

Cooperatives

That’s where cooperatives come in. Most of the cooperatives have billions of shillings sitting idle in banks. Many have the capacity to raise even much more. And we have a pool of excellent managers who have raised saccos from scratch to large enterprises. These are people that can be called upon to expand the cooperative movement to undertake large scale investments to the benefit of their communities and Kenya at large.