PREPARATIONS REACH TOP GEAR

Kisumu vets hoteliers as city readies for Africities Summit

Investors urged to take advantage of the conference to improve existing facilities and develop new ones.

In Summary

• On Sunday, the President expressed satisfaction with the progress made and encouraged the contractor to ensure the facility is ready for use by April.

• Governor Anyang' Nyong'o said Kisumu is on the right track and ready to host the summit. 

Ongoing construction of Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium at Mamboleo ASK Grounds, the venue for the summit
Ongoing construction of Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium at Mamboleo ASK Grounds, the venue for the summit
Image: Faith Matete

Kisumu county has started vetting hotels and restaurants ahead of the Africities Summit scheduled for November.

Preparations have reached top gear and plans to finish the Sh415 million Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium at Mamboleo ASK Groundsthe venue for the summit— are under way.

Investors have been urged to take advantage of the conference to improve existing facilities and develop new ones to meet the needs of the visitors expected from across the world.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and top government officials have visited the Mamboleo facility to assess the progress of the project. Construction work was launched by the President in October last year and is currently 65 per cent complete.

On Sunday, the President expressed satisfaction with the progress made and encouraged the contractor to ensure the facility is ready for use by April.

The Tourism Regulatory Authority has been mandated to classify Kisumu hotels and restaurants and accommodation facilities and assess whether they meet requirements for specific categories. This is meant to ensure higher standards are maintained to meet the needs of delegates and other guests.

Robinson Anyal, the Lake Victoria Tourism Association chairman, said the registration is a pre-qualification process for standardised or grading of the hotels in terms of different categories or star rating. This will give their owners time to upgrade where necessary.

Anyal, however, noted that the county has enough bed capacity, with about 5,000 decent beds in the city and another other 9,866 in the region.

Governor Anyang' Nyong'o said Kisumu is on the right track and ready to host the summit. The signature event of the United Cities and Local Governments in Africa (UCLG-Africa) will be held in Kenya for the second time after the first one in 2006.

It is expected to attract more than 10,000 delegates. However, some delegates will take part virtually.

Last week, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa inspected various facilities set to host the continental summitfrom different hotels to the conference venue.

The CS, who chairs the Africities national steering committee, urged the lake region counties to invest in the hospitality industry to ensure the summit is a success.

He said the delegates will not only stay in Kisumu but also in facilities across the neighbouring counties, hence the need to invest in the region, especially in conference facilities.

“Investments in the hospitality sector is the key to ensure that the summit is a success and the visitors are given a world class experience,” he said, adding that this will also bring along various economic benefits to business people and residents.

Wamalwa was accompanied by Devolution CAS Abdul Bahari, Devolution PS Charkes Sunkuli and Sports PS Joe Okudo and county officials. They will continue visiting the sites and venues to asses the situation.

Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili said the county government is committed to partnering with the national government to fast-track the completion of key projects ahead of the summit.

There have been massive demolitions within the county ahead of the summit. The tarmacking of Muhoroni-Chemelil-Mamboleo road will soon start. 

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium at Mamboleo ASK Grounds
Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium at Mamboleo ASK Grounds
Image: Faith Matete