Plans to build an industrial park in Kisumu are expected to kick off with a World Bank-funded feasibility study.
Trade and Industry Executive Alice Moraa yesterday said the financial institution was engaging the contractor, who would assess the practicality and viability of the Sh3 billion project.
“We are on course and making good progress. The World Bank is engaging a contractor and we anticipate that the feasibility study could begin next week,” Ms Moraa said.
The executive said the project, set to sit on 500 acres in Ombeyi, Muhoroni, will be one of several mini-industrial parks built in the county.
"The ultimate goal is to have an economic zone sitting on 70,000 acres teeming with industries in local consumption and export goods and offering employment to 3 million people," Moraa said.
She said three manufacturers of fertiliser, pharmaceuticals and textiles had expressed interest in setting up factories in the Ombeyi park.
“It would not make economic sense extending the standard gauge railway to Kisumu if it takes nothing on the journey back to the Coast. The industrial park is a crucial viability prerequisite and the Government is committed to seeing it materialise.”
The project that was mooted over 10 years ago had failed to take off largely due to lack of Government goodwill and land to set up factories. The land in Ombeyi was only identified in May.
The Government is also in the process of repossessing 10,000 acres that had been leased to Miwani Sugar Company to establish a second park.
Apart from the proposed parks that are expected to boost the economy, Kisumu port has been refurbished and expanded for about Sh800 million in plans to re-establish the country's dominance in regional trade through Lake Victoria.
Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director Daniel Manduku said they were waiting for President Uhuru Kenyatta to launch the port.