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Lupita Nyong'o markets Kisumu to Africities delegates

Lupita Nyong'o speaks to delegates by video recording at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu during day one of the Africities Conference on May 17, 2022. [Michael Mute, Standard]

Hollywood star Lupita Nyong'o has praised Kisumu's tourism potential as the 9th Africities conference started in the lakeside city.

In a statement that was greeted by claps from delegates, Oscar-winning actress Lupita praised the transformation the city.

Lupita is the goodwill ambassador for the summit and she seized the chance to market Kisumu to the delegates.

Although she did not appear in person, a recorded video of the actress with her message to delegates was played on a large screen erected at the venue.

"Kisumu County has so much to offer. I cannot think of a better place," said Lupita.

She said the city has been on a reform path that has seen it grow over the last couple of years.

The Hollywood star also heaped praise on her father Anyang' Nyong'o, the governor of the county.

Nyong'o is serving his first term.

The Africities summit is pushing for the establishment of sustainable cities that can comfortably accommodate increasing urban population in intermediary cities.

In her speech, Lupita described the summit as a game changer that will help define the future of African cities.

"Through the summit, we lay the ground for Africa's cities and urban development," she said.

Kisumu is the first non-capital city to host Africities and the second city in Kenya to host the summit after Nairobi, which hosted the event in 2006.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa also praised Kisumu, saying it is on the right path.

He gave an elaborate history of the city and said the government is committed to improving the lakeside city.

"This is one of the most transformative places in the region," he said.

A number of topics have been lined up for discussion. These include climate change, the role of intermediary cities and urban growth.

The raging debate on climate change and urban growth dominated the opening speeches.