Makueni County Profile
Formerly Makueni district, Makueni County occupies approximately 8,000 square kilometers. The current governor of Makueni County is Professor Kivutha Kibwana, a family man and an educationalist who is notably committed to improving the livelihood of the Citizens of the greater Kamba nation.
Makueni County has six sub-counties, namely: Kaiti; Kilome; Kibwezi East; Kibwezi West; Makueni; and Mbooni sub-counties. The capital of Makueni County is Wote Town, which also happens to be the largest town within the county.
Makueni County lies within an arid and semi-arid zone, located on the lower eastern region of Kenya, sharing its borders with Machakos County to the North, Kajiado County to the West, Taita-Taveta County to the South, and Kitui County to the East.
Makueni County’s Economic Activities and Investment Opportunities
Agriculture is the predominant economic activity in Makueni County. Currently, the total arable land covers 5042.69 square kilometers, equivalent to 74 percent of the total area. Horticulture and dairy farming is also practiced within the hilly parts of Kilungu and Mbooni West sub-counties.
In Lowland areas covering Kathonzweni, Mbooni East, Nzaui, and Makueni sub-counties, the main economic activities are livestock keeping, cotton, and fruit production. Other economic activities include sand harvesting, harvesting of limestone, granite, gypsum, and Quartz in the Kibwezi constituency. Value addition, trade, and commercialization are still at very low levels within Makueni County. However, the County Government of Makueni is focusing on the establishment of different projects to improve economic activities within the county.
Tourism is one of the sectors promoting the economy of Makueni County. Numerous tourist attraction sites within the county register a good number of local and international tourists every year. Makueni County offers various five-star accommodations suitable for local and international tourists.
The County is connected to the rest of the country through the Standard Gauge Railway and an extensive road network. With better infrastructure, Makueni County has huge potential from its tourism sector.
Some of the top tourist attractions within Makueni County include:
- Tsavo East National Park
- Chyulu Hills National Park
- Kibwezi irrigation schemes
- Jipe Moyo Conservancy
- Makuli-Nguta Forest
- Kisula Leviathan Caves
- Historic AIC Church in Nzaui Sub County
Challenges in Makueni County
In Makueni County, the top challenges are food insecurity, limited access to clean drinking water/ inadequate water supply, a depletion of water catchment areas, poor infrastructure, agriculture-related challenges, poor healthcare, degradation of land resources, low rainfall, pests, and diseases, as well as poor agricultural practices women and children walking long distances to water points, and sand harvesting which worsens the situation.
The poor population experiences limited access to basic needs. The basic requirements include things like food, shelter, clothing, health, water, and education. Moreover, the majority of the poor are children, women, and persons living disabilities. The worst hit are women, and this is because of gender inequality, limited access to and ownership of land, and limited income-generating activities as well as isolation when making important decisions.
Unemployment has also reached an alarming rate in the county. Consequently, the county is experiencing relatively high levels of poverty, standing at 34.8 percent according to the KIHBS 2015/2016 report.
Progresses Made in Makueni County
The Makueni County 2018-2022 Integrated Development Plan focuses on transforming the county the socio-economic status by the year 2025. Under the leadership of H.E Kivutha Kibwana, the County Integrated Development Plan aims to:
- Increase productivity, enable value addition and commercialization within the Agricultural sector
- Ensure availability and easy access to water
- Enhance the quality of health care for Citizens of Makueni County
- Achieve economic empowerment with special focus on youth, women, and persons with disability
- Secure land tenure and urbanization
Overall, the envisioned Makueni County socio-economic empowerment focuses on ensuring an increased household income. This has been seen through the implementation of various projects including:
- Makueni Fruit Processing Plant
- Kikima Dairy Mini Processing Plant
- Administering 17,000 high breed artificial inseminations
- Putting up of modern market sheds and livestock yards
- ENE microfinance Bank and Tetheka Fund
- Facilitation in establishing 30 new cooperative societies
While the Government of Makueni County is working tirelessly to achieve the above objectives, various challenges serve as impediments to progress including low revenue collection and low allocation from the national kitty. Moreover, some departments are under capacitated, which affects service delivery to the citizens in rural areas. This is notwithstanding the political turmoil, which has bedeviled the implementation of various projects. These challenges have affected the endeavor of achieving development in the rural areas.