Kisumu contemplates using private homes to house Africities delegates

UCLG-Africa Secretary General Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi (left) and Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o join Africa Genre group in a dance in Kisumu (Photo: Denish Ochieng/ Standard)
KISUMU, KENYA: The hotel industry in Kisumu may be forced to put up 6, 000 more hotel rooms if the city has to solely host the 2021 Africities Conference.

This revelation comes amid reports that the city has a bed capacity of 4, 000, against the over 10, 000 delegates expected to attend the continental fete set for November 2021.

And in a bid to maximize on this opportunity, Kisumu County Government has, as early as now, begun identification of idle homes and extra bedrooms of private citizens to help bridge the gap.

Should this still not fully sort the shortage, the county will be looking to work with hotels in the neighbouring counties in the Lake Region Economic Bloc to help host the guests.

United Cities and Local Governments in Africa (UCLG-Africa) Secretary General Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi is in the area to access the city’s capacity to host the event, with infrastructure taking centre stage in the planning of the event.

On Tuesday, Mr. Mbassi admitted that Kisumu, being the first intermediary city to host the event, will have to do a lot in order to meet the minimum standards required for the challenge.

Other cities which have also hosted the event include; Dakar (Senegal), Johannesburg (South Africa), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Windhoek (Namibia), Yaounde (Cameroon), Nairobi (Kenya), and Marrakech (Morocco).

Interestingly, the seven cities are capital cities of their respective counties and enjoy massive infrastructural development, which makes them handle such high-powered events with ease.

Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya, after Nairobi and Mombasa is a lower tier city compared to previous hosts of the event, and for sure, its infrastructural strength is set to be strained.

However, Mr. Mbassi exuded confidence in the progress being made by the city to match the demands for the event, coupled with the commitment of both the national and county leadership, as well as the leadership of the regional bloc.

“We realised that the bulk of urbanisation is in the intermediary cities, and that is why we gave Kisumu the benefit of doubt to host the event. They, however, have to prepare adequately in order to prove wrong the doubting Thomases,” said Mbassi.

He added: “We can bet that Kisumu is up to the challenge, given the ongoing works, and the people of Kisumu have to support this fully.”

Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o admitted that there was a lot to be done, but maintained that he was hopeful that the county will achieve the minimum standards required to host the event.

“We are currently meeting different stakeholders including investors in the hotel industry, and we want to give them a platform to tell us what they can do towards the achievement of success in this course,” said Nyong’o.

He said with the confirmation that the city will host the event, a number of hotel owners have committed to increasing their bed capacities.

He said they were also looking into partnerships with investors in the transport industry to ensure the provision of Rapid Bus Transport, to ease movement during the four-day event.

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Africities ConferenceKisumu CityUCLG-Africa