In 1998, the Government of Kenya established the Ministry of East African and Regional Cooperation to coordinate the affairs of the EAC, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). In 1999, the EAC Affairs functions were transferred to a department within the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry and later in 2003, as a department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2004 the Ministry of East African Community and Regional Cooperation was established and later renamed the Ministry of East African Community (MEAC) in 2006. In 2013, following the reorganization of government in line with the 2010 Constitution, the EAC functions were placed under the State Department for East African Affairs (SDEAA) within the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism.
The Department was later renamed the State Department for East African Community Integration (SDEACI) in 2016 under the Ministry of East African Community, Labour and Social Protection. Following the re-organization of the Government in June, 2018, the Ministry of East African Community and Regional Development was created. The creation of the Ministry was also in line with the Treaty for establishment of EAC and Directives of the EAC Heads of State Summit. Pursuant to the Executive Order No. 1 of 2023, the Ministry was renamed to East African Community (EAC), the ASALs and Regional Development comprising of two State Departments namely:
The State Department for East African Community
The State Department for the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and Regional Development
The mandate of the Ministry, focuses on coordinating Kenya’s engagement in the EAC integration, Northern Corridor Development programmes as well as coordination of Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and Regional Development. This involves working closely with the Ministries, Counties, Departments and Agencies (MCDAs); Private Sector; civil society; and engagement with Kenyan Citizenry, EAC Organs and Institutions and the other Partner States.
STATE DEPARTMENT FOR THE ARID and SEMI-ARIDS LANDS and REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The State Department for the ASALS and Regional Development was established through Executive Order No. 1 of October 2022 following the reorganization of Government. Its precursor, the Ministry of State for the Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands, was established in 2008 in conformity with Agenda 4 of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act. The Department is a special vehicle for affirmative action, mainstreaming development issues of Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALS), coordinating, implementing and fast-tracking investment for long term sustainable development.
The State Department of Arid and Semi Arid Lands and Regional Development is comprised of three directorates within which the above measures are actualized. They include the following:-
Directorate of Administration and Support Services.
Directorate of Partnership and Research
Directorate of Asals and Regional Development.
Directorate of Resilience Building.
STRATEGIC FOCUS AREAS
Coordination of Development for ASALs and Regional Development