11 February 2021 (LODWAR, Kenya): The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, today landed at Lodwar Airport Northern Kenya to speak at the ceremony marking the Launch of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Africa Borderlands Centre.
Other officials who made the trip to the event titled ‘Elevating Voices from Africa’s Borderlands’ include Hon. Eugene Wamalwa- Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of Kenya, the Resident Representative-UNDP Kenya, and the EU Head of Development Cooperation in Kenya.
The delegation was received by Hon. Josephat Nanok, the Governor of Turkana County, in his office before they proceeded to the venue for the Launch.
Hon. Wamalwa welcomed the delegation and said the importance of the Centre for the continenet and the region.
In his remarks, IGAD Executive Secretary recalled that “When goods do not cross borders, soldiers will”. “In other words, integrated trade is one of the best deterrents of conflict. For us at IGAD and the communities we work with in cross border areas, we firmly believe that sustainable state-building must fully and deliberately account for and accommodate borderland areas”, he added.
“This UNDP borderlands development centre is therefore a critical addition to ongoing efforts and initiatives in the IGAD region for a more inclusive approach that pulls borderlands from the periphery and brings them closer to the centre of policy and development. This new approach is vital to pushing back the boundaries of underdevelopment and transforming borderlands into frontiers of prosperity and integration,” Dr Workneh continued.
“The Africa Borderlands Centre will establish a new paradigm for borderland development representing our most promising chance to achieve the 2030 Agenda in Africa,” said Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director for Africa, as she joined virtually. “UNDP will strive to elevate borderland communities, majority of whom are women and youth, to increase their access to jobs and social protection, thereby supporting them through post-COVID-19 socioeconomic recovery,’ she concluded.
The Centre is an initiative aimed at providing research, policy analysis and programming dedicated to Africa’s borderlands. The ABC will also work with borderlands influencers and leaders to co-create ‘innovation challenges’, aimed at transforming security, economic and environmental vulnerabilities in the borderlands into opportunities for inclusive development.