By Nancy Juma
The dream to have Kisumu face the lake is now a reality following the official launch of the Kisumu Lakefront Development Corporation and the inauguration of its first Board earlier today.
The Corporation, a special purpose vehicle to develop and manage economic and social activities of the lakefront, as well as mobilization of resources for connected purposes will ensure the realization of Kisumu’s transformation agenda and the dream to have the City face the lake to attract new investments.
Early this year, the Kisumu County Assembly passed the Kisumu Lakefront Development Corporation Bill paving way for its use towards the realization of the much – needed transformation around the lakefront. Kisumu City is on a journey to transform the City through enhanced urban aesthetics and has been undertaking an elaborate beautification exercise in collaboration with the private sector. This new development will therefore steer forth aspirations under the programme as well as explore opportunities presented by the vantage geographical positioning of Kisumu around Lake Victoria.
The Lakefront is a key growth area and a viable investment opportunity that positions Kisumu for greater economic and social development. The Corporation is vital in identifying and packaging bankable projects that can be showcased to the world to attract investors and development partners.
This first Board led by the immediate former Auditor General Edward Ouko is mandated to oversee the projects under the Corporation and will be key in guiding the County on the best investment ideas. Tapped from the best in the Corporate world, the Board members will spearhead development around certain thematic areas including; commercial and port area, pipeline and jetty, hotel and resorts, golf course, water fronts, lakefront administrative and fish factory as well as an international conference centre and redesign of the sewer system.
While presiding over the launch at the Kisumu Port, Kenya Urban Roads Authority Director General Eng. Silas Kinoti noted that the launch marked a key step towards realization of a better infrastructure aimed at changing people’s lives.
“Building of infrastructure is the most powerful tool in the creation of jobs and the playing field for all businesses”. He said
Kinoti applauded the County leadership for their dedication in providing better infrastructure aimed at opening up the City of Kisumu and enhancing mobility. He says it is initiatives such as KLDC that will help the country in realizing aspirations outlined in Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda.
On the county’s road networks, the DG was impressed with the County for taking a bold step in dealing with road encroachers adding that the authority will work closely with the County Government to ensure the road corridors are used effectively.
Earlier this year, KURA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the County Government of Kisumu to construct a 46 KM Promenade at the lakefront from Dunga Beach in Kisumu to Ndere Island. The Authority will undertake design and construction, as well as supervision of the infrastructure development.
This ambitious plan will link up beaches along the scenic and beautiful tourist spots in the expansive Winam Gulf. The Promenade, fully Non-Motorized, will consist of walkways, cycling tracks, and paved carriageways inclusive of recreational facilities at strategic locations.
Also speaking at the launch, Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o reiterated that the idea of the Corporation was driven by the desire to re-awaken Kisumu as a leading commercial, industrial and maritime hub on Lake Victoria serving Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
He is confident that the Corporation will help revitalize the County’s economic potential and overall development agenda.
“Under the guidance of the board, the Kisumu Lakefront Development Corporation will enhance the economic, environmental, social and cultural value of the Lake Victoria water front”. He said
According to the Governor, Kisumu is building for the future and is more focused in undertaking vision-based planning with its Geophysical and Spatial Plan being the guiding book. According to the World Bank, by the year 2050, 50 to 70 per cent of the world’s population will be living in urban centers and Kisumu just like many other cities experiencing exponential growth must plan its urban areas effectively including ensuring an environmentally friendly lake and lakefront.
With the Corporation now fully operational, Kisumu can now begin to exploit the numerous Blue Economy opportunities, enhance tourism, trade and attract investors for key developments at the lake front. Blue Economy is now the biggest development frontier, the developments around the lake are the perfect links in revitalizing the once vibrant maritime industry in Kisumu. The recent developments at the Port of Kisumu are a perfect example of how much we can achieve with a healthy Lake Victoria. Kisumu’s economy relies heavily on the maritime sector and for Kisumu to move to the next level, we must explore all opportunities within the maritime industry and bring back its glory.
The Governor was joined by Kisumu West MP Hon. Olago Aluoch, Kisumu County Cabinet Members and several County Assembly Members led by the Speaker Elisha Oraro