Kakamega targets local and foreign investors in key investment meeting

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa inspected some of the stands during Kakamega International Investment conference at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology on March 19, 2024. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

President William Ruto is today expected to open the Kakamega County International Investment Conference.

The inaugural conference, which has attracted over 3, 000 local and international guests including potential investors, is being held at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.

The devolved region targets to attract potential investors and pen deals with various partners ready to invest in the county.

Speaking at Masinde Muliro University yesterday, Governor Fernandes Barasa said Opposition chief Raila Odinga will attend Thursday proceedings.

On Friday, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi is expected to close the conference.

“We expect the President, Raila and Mudavadi. Their presence will cement our case to invest locally by imploring foreign investors,” said Mr Barasa adding they were eyeing completion of various development projects and kick-starting new initiatives.

“We expect investors to inject money into our economy, for instance, we have our stalled Sh12 billion 750-bed capacity Kakamega Teaching and Referral Level Six Hospital that could be bigger than KNH once operationalized. We also have a multi-million milk processing plant in Malava that is yet to be operationalized and, of course, the Sh6 billion Bukhungu International Stadium.

“We also have our agri-business value chain, cancer centre, and fish farming. After the conference, we expect to have an assembly factory in Kakamega that seeks to uplift the life of our people economically,” he said.

According to the governor, there exists  huge investment potential in hospitality, housing, health, and agriculture, among other sectors.

Hundreds of local and international exhibitors have already set up stalls at the university.

“It is a strategic investment opportunity for our county endowed with enormous resources yet to be exploited. We would like to showcase areas and opportunities available,” said Barasa.

Deputy Governor Ayub Savula said efforts are underway to restore the Kakamega tropical rainforest and the famous Kakamega crying stone.

Crying stone

“We are going to factor money in our budget to restore the crying stone, which is a tourist attraction site. We plan to buy the land occupied by the rare stone,” said Mr Savula.

He added: “We already have an investor ready to restore the lost glory of our crying stone which has stopped crying due to the effects of climate change. Locals have planted eucalyptus trees around the stone.”

Guests were treated to a tour of the forest and the crying stone yesterday. 

African Continental Free Trade Area Secretary General Wamkele Mene and US Ambassador to Kenya Margaret Whitman are expected to address the conference today.

Kakamega Investment and Development Agency chief executive officer Elizabeth Asichi said they were ready to accommodate over 4,000 guests in town.

“We can accommodate all the guests including those from government and foreign missions, among others,” Ms Asichi said.

She said engagement with international guests would foster learning and exchange of ideas.

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