Lakeside town’s growth on display at key summit

Senate Assembly Speaker Ken Lusaka (right) with Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa (center) and Kisumu Senator Fred Outa during the last day of the legislative summit in Kisumu on April 17th 2019. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

The just concluded Fourth Annual Legislative Summit has exposed the resilience of the economy of Kisumu City, which is still on a recovery path from the devastating effects of the 2017 elections.

The summit was a major boost for the Kisumu economy as it plans to host the Africities Summit in 2021.

For the past year, Kisumu’s economy has been on a recovery path following disruption of businesses in the aftermath of the General Election in 2017.

This week however, various investors and businesses reaped big from the five-day summit.

Hotels, taxi operators and other service providers registered increased business due to the presence of the odd 4000 guests who came for the summit.

Business hub

Prior to the summit, there had been fears that the county would not accommodate all the dignitaries and the delegates.

The county government even urged house owners to take advantage of the situation should there be an accommodation crisis, and rent their houses to the delegates.

This however never came to be as hotels in the city took in all the visitors.

Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o urged investors to continue investing in the city.

Nyong’o’s government is almost completing relocation of the infamous Kachok dumpsite, which has in the past denied the city an opportunity to host both international and regional sporting events.

Western Kenya Hospitality Leaders Association chairperson Robinson Anyal told the Sunday Standard that the city has now established itself as a business hub that can host thousands of guests.

“We are estimating the bed capacity in the city to be about 6,000. A number of guest houses have also come up and the summit is a blessing to us,” Anyal said.

In 2014, the Kisumu hosted the devolution conference and guests struggled to find decent accommodation after senior officials booked the few existing high-end hotels.

Anyal attributed improvement in hospitality industry on the many visitors in the region, which has been on a steady rise prior to last week’s summit.

But it is not only the hospitality industry that gained from the event. Taxi and car hire operators also lauded the summit.

John Ochieng, a taxi operator based at the Kisumu International Airport said the number of passengers increased.

Beautiful city

“The summit was a blessing to us. Although the number of people who have been seeking taxi services has improved since the beginning of the year, the last one week was incredible,” Ochieng said.

Delegates attending the summit led by Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa noted that creation of the Lake Region Economic Bloc will boost the region’s economy.

“Kisumu is a beautiful city with commendable hospitality. People visiting the region should also take the opportunity to enjoy the fresh fish in the town,” the CS said.

The national government considers Kisumu a major economic hub in Western Kenya and has initiated a number of projects which are likely to be completed before the Africities summit.

The projects include the Kisumu-Kakamega highway, which is almost complete. But it is the stubborn hyacinth that continues to hamper Kisumu’s growth.

During the summit, delegates who went to the lake shore were disappointed after the weed barred them from enjoying boat rides.

In December, the weed also prevented boat owners from taking the thousands of families for rides.

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Fourth Annual Legislative SummitAfricities SummitGeneral ElectionEconomyKisumu City