Projects that could propel Kisumu as EAC's commercial hub in 2019

Projects worth over Sh100 billion will be a major boost to Kisumu's quest to become East Africa’s commercial hub if successfully implemented.

The projects are a Sh70 billion road along Lake Victoria beaches from Busia to Migori, a Sh13 billion new port, a Sh15 billion brewery and Sh1.7 billion oil jetty.

Also, Kisumu International Airport being upgraded. The county government has also received a Sh4 billion grant to upgrade Kisumu City.

The investments are being funded by the national government, the French Development Agency and the World Bank among other multinationals.

Feasibility studies for some of the projects, including the ring road and plans to extend the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to Kisumu, show they have the potential to turn around the fortunes of the county.

Blue economy

President Uhuru Kenyatta is reported to have told Nyanza leaders, during his Kisumu, he would request the World Bank to fund the ring road which could open up Lake Victoria’s blue economy and attract investments in Kisumu.

And Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia's statement that Kenya may terminate the SGR at the Kisumu port is expected to attract investors in the shipping and logistics business.

The new port is expected to be constructed near Korando. However, ongoing expansion of the old port may see the Government use the funds to improve the existing port.

A modern port, equipped with cargo handling machinery could be a game changer in trade between Kisumu, Jinja and Entebbe in Uganda and Mwanza in Tanzania.

Regional trade

Kenya sees Kisumu as key in its quest to continue dominating the regional trade. Efforts to make the city East Africa’s commercial hub were part of deliberations of the EAC Heads of State summit in Nairobi in June.

EAC countries want to exploit Lake Victoria as a cheap, safe and efficient transport with a view to widening maritime trade.

Plans to establish cargo handling unit at the airport will be a major boost to the county. The airport only serves as a passenger terminal at the moment.

The cargo unit will attract regional flights. Plans to establish the cargo unit started in 2013.

Kenya Airports Authority said the cargo would include horticultural produce, processed fish and fruits.

The Standard
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