Hotels work overtime to expand facilities to host 10,000 delegates

United Cities and Local Governments in Africa (UCLG-Africa) Secretary General Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi (left) and Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o join Africa Genre group in a dance in Kisumu on April 24,209. Elong is in Kisumu for chains of meetings ahead of Afro-cities convention that will take place in Kisumu.

The local hotel industry will need to expand its facilities to successfully host a continental conference set for November 2021.

The meeting, by the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa), also known as Africities Conference, brings together various stakeholders in development.

Africities mobilises communities and local authorities, as well as financial institutions, civil society groups and development partners at continental and international level, to foster development.

It is a flagship pan-African event which is held every three years in one of the five regions of Africa.

This will be the second time Kenya will be hosting the Africities Conference after holding the fourth edition in Nairobi in 2006 — between September 18 and 24. The event was attended by 7,000 delegates.

Yesterday, it emerged Kisumu does not have enough facilities to host the conference and may need to work with neighbouring counties on accommodating delegates.

Local hotels currently have a bed capacity of 4,000 against 10,000 delegates expected to attend the meeting. 

And to maximise on the opportunity, the county government is already identifying idle homes and asking residents to offer extra rooms in their homes to bridge the gap.

The county may also work with members of Lake Region Economic Bloc to host guests.

UCLG-Africa secretary general Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi is currently in Kisumu to asses facilities ahead of the meeting.

Mr Mbassi said the county has a long way to go to fulfil requirements to host the conference, but noted that the government still has time to adequately prepare.

Kisumu is the third largest city in Kenya, after Nairobi and Mombasa.

Mbassi said he is happy with the progress being made towards the event.

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

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

Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o admitted there was a lot still to be done, but was confident the county would host the conference.

“We are currently meeting different stakeholders, including investors in the hotel industry, to tell us what they can do towards achieving this goal,” said Nyong’o.