Irrespective of what is being said of the Standard Gauge Railway, I am desperate to see it reach the lakeshore.
With the coming of the SGR, completion of the main roads connecting Kisumu city and other economic hubs, construction of the proposed Kes. 14 Billion new Port and the installation of the anticipated cargo section of the airport, Kisumu is bound to revert back to its former position as a regional economic hub.
It will make more economic sense to put up a plant in Kisumu than in Thika, and supply target markets through Mombasa Port using the improved railway from Kisumu; to the EAC regional market using waterways from the proposed port; further to other parts of Africa, Europe, Asia, America and Middle East using airways from Kisumu International Airport; and throughout western Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Congo using the improved roads network .
Kenya Breweries is one of the early birds who have seen this potential and reinstalled their brewery in the city at a cost of Kes. 15 billions.
Anybody who has been wondering the rationale for upcoming malls in Kisumu despite current idle commercial space and political instability in the city should know that with the expected boom in the industrial sector, the commercial sector in the city is bound to grow exponentially in the coming years. The same will apply to the service industry to serve the bevy of entrepreneurs who will come to town to engage in “Kisuma”
The challenge, in my view, is to the agricultural sector in Kisumu and the region. Does it have what it takes to support growing industrial sector with the requisite raw materials and the expanding urban population with food? Is our land ownership structure vis a vis capital ownership a hindering factor? What can we do so that the envisaged growth is felt in our villages and slums? These to me are questions that should bother us. SGR should and must completed without delay.
In my view, this should be the policy dialogue cracking the brains of our elected and other opinion leaders right now rather than the referendum mirage.