Kisumu derives its name from the term ‘Sumo’ which means a place of barter trade. It is a port town situated along the shores of Lake Victoria in the Western region of Kenya. Kisumu has a lot of cultural and national history. It started out as a port in 1901 when it became the main inland terminal for the Kenya-Uganda Railway. It is situated on the shores of Lake Victoria, which is Africa’s largest inland lake. It was called Lake Victoria, then renamed Port Florence for one year before getting its current name which is Kisumu.
Owing to the efforts of the urban development program, this lakeside city with a population of over 250,000 people has a myriad of business opportunities awaiting exploitation.
Here are some key sectors both local and international investors should be keeping an eye on;
1. Environmental Management – For a long time Kisumu has lacked a proper waste management and water supply system, while this is a project that is in the works, there is definitely more room for investment and innovation to meet this need.
2. Health – As the population in Kisumu continues to rise and more people exploit the town, additional general and specialised health facilities and workers shall be needed to cater to the towns’ health and sanitation requirements. Also, more HIV/AIDS sensitization and management is equally needed in this county so as to increase life expectancy and productivity.
3. Education– Knowledge is power thus the creation of more credible and affordable institutions for this bustling lakeside town is of the utmost importance, especially at the tertiary level. This will instil vital technical and professional skills to the locals which will be necessary in exploiting the county resources efficiently and effectively, and providing home grown solutions.
4. Architecture and design – The mushrooming population definitely requires housing, proper exquisite housing to be more specific, because of the well-known refined taste of the sophisticated Kisumu people. In addition, more hostels and student facilities will be required to cater for the mushrooming tertiary institutions.
5. Information Communication and Technology – The world we live in is fast becoming a small village thanks to technological advancements that have eased the speed and quality of communication and business processes. Businesses in Kisumu also need this boost by having more localised companied providing ICT solutions and training.
6. Entertainment– It is an observation that the inhabitants of Western Kenya love to spend and make merry. Well this simply goes to show the importance of developing more social amenities for sport and relaxation. These need to be customised to meet the needs and wants of the unemployed youth (perhaps through community centres free for all to access) and the well-off (through private members clubs).
7. Agriculture -The sugar and rice irrigation industries employs a good number of people in the Western region, however, with the recent underdevelopment in this sector, more people have abandoned farming activities and are slowly shifting to look for employment in the urban centres. There are opportunities for further investment in this sector, especially to revive the ailing sugar industry and not only provide food for trade but also for self-sustenance. Developing this sector would also reduce the rate of rural urban migration thereby decreasing the pressure on the administrative capital of Kisumu.
8. Fisheries – Lake Victoria largely contributes to the economy of the county since it supports the fishing and fish processing industry which are the county’s main economic activity. Opportunities exist in further developing this sector for local and export markets, and in further developing the port as a gateway to other regions such as the magnificent Rusinga Island and neighbouring East African countries.
9. Tourism – With attractions such as the Kisumu Museum, the Impala sanctuary, the Hippo Point, Kit Mikayi and others, Kisumu is a popular tourist destination. Opportunities lie in sustaining and improving these sites for the best experience, and developing more competitive and attractive offers for optimal revenue collection. Check out 15 Places To Visit In Kisumu County!
10. Infrastructure development – The recent improvement of the Kisumu Airport, construction of more malls and hotels and re-carpeting of roads in Kisumu has contributed significantly to the growth of the town. More opportunities lie in improving the infrastructure so as to accelerate the urbanization of Kisumu to become the envisioned smart city.
Kisumu has many other opportunities not mentioned here but these are some of the key ones. You can tell us in the comments section what you think we should add to the list.
Mwende Maritim is a budding freelance writer based in Nairobi, Kenya. She has always had a passion for well written content but began writing professionally in 2014. Her writing mainly covers lifestyle issues and anything to inspire people especially the teenagers she mentors.