In a significant diplomatic breakthrough, the Kenyan Government and Italian stakeholders involved in the construction of the contentious Itare, Arror, and Kimwarer dams have reached a tentative agreement to recommence these projects.
The Ministry of Water, in a statement issued on Sunday, disclosed that both parties, following negotiations in Rome, Italy, have committed to collaborating to swiftly resume work on the three dams.
Water and Sanitation Principal Secretary, Dr. Kipronoh Ronoh, accompanied by Foreign Affairs CS Alfred Mutua, represented Kenya at the meeting.
The statement read, “PS Water and Sanitation Dr. Kipronoh Ronoh held a negotiation meeting with the Italian government in Rome to consider the resumption of work for Itare, Arror, and Kimwarer dams.”
It went on to say, “The Italians agreed to work with Kenya towards a lasting solution in order to resume work immediately.”
Dr. Ronoh confirmed that both sides agreed to clear the obstacles and pave the way for contractors to return to the project sites without delay.
This development follows a March 2023 meeting between President William Ruto and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarela, during which they resolved to withdraw legal cases related to the three dams, clearing the path for the projects to move forward.
“We have agreed to re-establish cooperation on the construction of Arror, Kimwarer, and Itare dams and other water and sanitation projects which are critical to our agenda on food security, delivery of water, and climate action,” President Ruto stated during the meeting.
The resumption of these three projects forms a cornerstone of the Head of State’s 2022 campaign promises.
In September 2019, former President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the cancellation of the Kimwarer Dam project and the immediate initiation of the Arror Multipurpose Dam project with new design elements and a revised cost rationalization plan.