Kisumu’s Strategic Location to Spur Growth of the Region
A lot has been said about Kisumu City as a location and destination for travel, business, and leisure. Needless to point out its strategic location in the West Coast of Kenya along the shores of Lake Victoria.
Being a major commercial route during the construction of the railway line to connect Kenya to the greater East African community, saw a rail line being laid down up to the shores of the Lake in the year 1901. And actually, also playing host to the first ever plane to arrive in the region, and not just the region but in the whole of East and Central Africa region. This eventually led to the development of the Kisumu International Airport that has led to an easy travelling and communication connection across the region. The airport itself, if allowed to carter for international flights, will be very major in opening up the Western Kenya region and travel to East Africa, as it will provide cheaper and time-consuming route into local and international flights that do not need JKIA connection or clearance. People can easily connect to Uganda, Tanzania and even Rwanda via the Kisumu International Airport.
The planned SGR line to the city and the region will also be a big game changer in matters of tourism and local travel. Already, Kisumu is central in connecting the region to various tourism facilities, and receives almost 90% of business travelers in to the region. The modern conference facilities in the city and a commensurate hospitality industry have served both local Kenyan counties and also international guests since the devolved governments took shape.
As a hub of trade, Kisumu has attracted a lot of attention lately. East African Breweries has restarted its brewing operation in the city by putting up a multi-billion shilling keg plant which has but started operation. This has now roped in thousands of farmers from the region into cultivating sorghum that will be needed in the brewery.
Needless to say, the region is ripe for more infrastructural development as the road network into the city has been worked on from all the connecting routes, with bypasses also put up to provide smooth flow of traffic to and from the city. Lanes of major highways or streets have been doubled or expanded, overpasses put up at major crossing points and also these roads have and are being lit up to make them accessible and usable during the night. Lighting up of the roads and the city neighborhoods have also helped reduce cases of robberies.
The attractiveness of the city as an investment destination and a major connecting point of the country also saw a multibillion construction of a jetty in Lake Victoria that will help in the delivery of oil into the region as well as to the other East African state countries.
It’s being said that if you throw a stone in the City of Kisumu, chances of you hitting a PhD holder is very high. It is an acceptable belief and fact that the region has the most number of learned folks Kenya has ever had. English as a language is a common communication lingo, and hardly will you find people use the locally acceptable Luo dialect, the most will always use the English language to even converse or interlace their communication with English words, sometimes called EngLuo.
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Early in the year, the city hosted the African Premiere of the Black Panther movies, featuring the Oscar Award winning Lupita Nyong’o. Movie enthusiasts thronged the movie venue in their thousands, and in the two days the movie was showing, the theaters were all full and packed during the scheduled screening times. Local movie makers were so thrilled and have been working so tirelessly since then to make movies and make Kisumu a creative destination for the arts. This also made the Riverwood Awards Ensemble fraternity to host its 2018 Academy Gala Awards in this lakeside resort. The awards were attended by who and who in the entertainment industry in Kenya, including the moral police himself – Dr Ezekiel Mutua who heads the Kenya Films Commission Classification Board, the PS Heritage and Culture Ms. Fatuma Hersi among other highly acclaimed dignitaries.
With this attention among others Kisumu is getting, is a sure sign that Kisumu is ready for BIG business.
This has seen a marked rise in construction boom all across the city. High story malls and apartments being put up, malls coming up, supermarkets rushing here to open shops, gated communities coming up, and even the county government partnering with other organizations as the UNHabitat to put up promenades along the lake shores and turn the city to do business while facing the lake. All businesses along the shoreline have already been given the notice to open up their backward facing walls to serve the lake. There will only be service industry dotting the lakeshores in Kisumu. And truly, some of the industries along Obote Road, have already started demolitions for new construction which will be service oriented.
Financial service providers are also coming in tow, to provide the capital in this reconstruction of the city.
Commercial Bank of Africa – Bank for interesting people, is one such bank that is helping investors and entrepreneurs think about the bigger picture. From discoveries and challenges, they make you want to see different things through its various bouquet of products. They have seen the future of Kisumu as central to the greater Lake Victoria region, and have opened their doors to collaborate and chart the way forward for this vision and growth of Kisumu and the lakeside destinations.