ECONOMY OF MOMBASA

mombasa port (www.seanews.com)

Photo courtesy of www.seanews.com

The main economic activity in Mombasa is tourism which contributes more than half of the total gross income of the region. It is the most visited place along east Africa and continues to be a magnet for visitors because of its fantastic beaches, rich cultural history and natural sights among others. The following are some of the activities which form the backbone of Mombasa’s economy.

TOURISM

Tourism plays an important role in the economy of Mombasa. It is the main source of income and contributes more than half of the total gross income. The main tourist attraction features in Mombasa include pristine coasts which host several world class beaches, Marine national parks that are rich in aquatic life, historical sights like fort Jesus, Gedi ruins and the famous Vasco Da Gama pillar and lots of culture and history. These fascinating sceneries have vast qualities which make them highly attractive. They are easily accessible as a result of modern infrastructures which have been developed in the area. Tourism has long been viewed as an effective method of development  and indeed is playing an important role in development and growth of of Mombasa’s economy.

TRADE

As early as 15th century Mombasa was a leading center for long distance trade. Its trade links went as far as India and modern day china. The main items of trade included spices, gold and ivory. Slave trade was also dominant but the main source of income was ivory trade. The strategic location of city was a key node in trading networks across India ,Persia and Yemen. Mombasa today remains trading center where traders from all parts of the world meet to transact business. The presence of a good harbor has also boosted trade in the region which facilitates much of export and import trade. It is also characterized by presence of many markets which offer a bright, fun, and unforgettable shopping experience to many visitors. There are also a large number of vendors in the open air markets who sell hand made crafts, jewelry, carvings and traditional clothing.

DEEP SEA FISHING

Mombasa is also a center for deep sea fishing. It is not commercially practiced activity but plans are underway to make use of this underwater treasure by provision of modern fishing facilities. This will in turn create employment to the locals who can now earn a living from this activity thus improving there living standards. Although fishing is not a new activity in Mombasa, it is yet to take root in this region.

FARMING

This is another economic activity practiced in Mombasa. It is the third largest economic activity in Mombasa after tourism and trade. The climate along the coastal region is very conducive for agriculture .There are two main rain seasons; during March and October. The main crops which are grown in this area include coconuts, palm trees, cashew nuts and sisal among others. A sisal plantation is a common feature in the area and is the main cash crop which is exported to Canada.

Mombasa has recorded a slight, progressive, Economic growth over the last five years. This can be directly linked to growth in the tourism sector as a result of modern hotels being developed daily in the area and efficient transport system. It is becoming a fascinating and cosmopolitan coastal city.

MOMBASA HISTORY AND CULTURE

mombasa bahari hotel

photo courtesy of flickr.com

Majestic Mombasa as some call it is one of the oldest cities in east Africa. It is a prolific city situated on the Indian Ocean that has lots of history and culture to offer. Mombasa city is easily accessible having an international airport, a port and a modern road transport system to cater for the large number of visitors who flock the area to experience this diverse cultural history.

Mombasa is a result of a series of invasions by many trading nations who sought to impose their dominance on it and has switched hands several times all through its history. This brought about a significant influence on its culture and religion but the Arab influence has been prominent in the town for a number of years. Its strategic location along the Indian Ocean made it a center of long distance trade .Arab traders could sail around the Kenya coast as early as 13th century and this boosted the trade greatly along the coast. The city today is covered by markets that have been in existence for as many as hundred years back. These markets are very charming attractions sights and give travelers a true taste of Mombasa.

It is also a place widely known among visitors as the ideal place to buy traditional Kenyan crafts like sculptures, handmade wooden furniture and tools. Visitors are also attracted to the unique traditional kanga clothes of coastal residents which are common items in the markets. Kitenges are a colorful clothes designed specifically for women while kikois are for men. These are common in east Africa coast and are worn as a wrap around a garment. They are best suited for beaches where they are used as beach towels. They are traditionally produced from local fabrics and sold cheaply to the market.  Jewelry is also common in the markets and is very popular with tourists. The markets are mainly dominated by Indian traders although there are other smaller traders like Arabs. There are also numerous boutique shops which deal with paintings, modern art items and traditional clothing.

MOMBASA’S HISTORY AND CULTURE

mombasa www.travelstart.co.ke

Photo courtesy of www.travelstart.co.ke

Majestic Mombasa as some call, it is one of the oldest cities in east Africa. It is a prolific city situated on the Indian Ocean that has lots of history and culture to offer. Mombasa city is easily accessible having an international airport, a port and a modern road transport system to cater for the large number of visitors who flock the area to experience this diverse cultural history.

Mombasa is a result of a series of invasions by many trading nations who sought to impose their dominance on it and has switched hands several times all through its history. This brought about a significant influence on its culture and religion but the Arab influence has been prominent in the town for a number of years. Its strategic location along the Indian Ocean made it a center of long distance trade .Arab traders could sail around the Kenya coast as early as 13th century and this boosted the trade greatly along the coast. The city today is covered by markets that have been in existence for as many as hundred years back. These markets are very charming attractions sights and give travelers a true taste of Mombasa.

It is also a place widely known among visitors as the ideal place to buy traditional Kenyan crafts like sculptures, handmade wooden furniture and tools. Visitors are also attracted to the unique traditional kanga clothes of coastal residents which are common items in the markets. Kitenges are a colorful clothes designed specifically for women while kikois are for men. These are common in east Africa coast and are worn as a wrap around a garment. They are best suited for beaches where they are used as beach towels. They are traditionally produced from local fabrics and sold cheaply to the market. Jewelry is also common in the markets and is very popular with tourists. The markets are mainly dominated by Indian traders although there are other smaller traders like Arabs. There are also numerous boutique shops which deal with paintings, modern art items and traditional clothing.

Economical Activities in Kakamega

Forest_from_Kakamega

Photo courtesy of www.kws.org

Kakamega is a town in the then western province; it is now the head quarter of Kakamega County which is the second populous county after Nairobi and the third largest town in Kenya. It is situated in the north of Kisumu city and a port city on Lake Victoria. The term Kakamega comes from a local dialect which means ‘pinch’, which was used to describe the way the European colonists used to eat the staple food of the residence of this town. The local inhabitants of kakamega town are the luhya community. There main economic activity is fishing and farming.

Mumias Sugar Company which is situated in the village of Mumias is the major sector that drives the economy of the town. This is the largest sugar producing firm in Kenya. However, the residence does not entirely depend on the company economically. The agriculture in this town includes; growing of sugarcane which is done both in large scale and small scale, there is also small scale mixed farming of millet, tea, maize, soya beans, dairy products, and sunflower.

Other economic activities include small scale gold mining; it was the scene for major gold rush in the 1930s that was partly fueled by reports of Albert Kitson who was a geologist. Commercial businesses also contribute to the economy of the town. It is a commercial center which is evident by the high number of banks set up in the region such as the National bank, co-operative bank, Kenya commercial bank, Barclays bank, equity bank, and family bank among others. All these thrive in this town because of the high population which translates into high market. Also the transportation sector offers a better employment in the region as the ‘boda boda’ motor cycle is the main transportation the residence use more frequently.

The strategic location of the town enables the residence to participate in trade with there partners in nearby towns such as Bungoma to the north, Trans Nzoia to the north east, Uasin Gishu and Nandi counties to the east, Vihiga county to the south, Siaya county to the south west and finally Busia to the West. These regions are very important to the kakamega town as far as their economy is concerned since all these areas are mainly tropical with wide diurnal range and high rainfall amounts.

In conclusion, Kakamega is a town to be for a holiday or at any time you need to relax. With the wide range of services and goods in the towns market presents you with an opportunity to decide on what you need. When it comes to hotels where tourists can spend, they are at the top of the table with first class and classic places to fit everyone’s needs at all times. The fact that the main economic activity of the residence of Kakamega being agriculture is an assurance that the food security is high and no one can risk being without food due to shortages at any given point.

CHALLENGES FACING KISUMU

Kisumu- www.boulderkisumu.org

photo courtesy of www.boulderkisumu.com

Kisumu like any other locality has numerous shortcomings which hinter its economic performance. There are extreme disparities in wealth distribution and the gap between the poor and the rich continues to widen day after day. Among Kisumu’s challenges we have the following:

Poverty

Kisumu has the highest poverty levels in Kenya when compared with other parts of Kenya. This has affected the ability of the locals to engage in meaningful business ventures. This is symbolized by emergence of informal settlements as most people can’t bear up with the high cost of living. Kisumu is not a major agricultural center and most of basic food stuffs come from other counties.

Unemployment

Unemployment   rate is very in Kisumu and many people have been affected by this situation. The youths are the most affected and are fleeing the city in hope of getting greener pastures somewhere else. Others have resorted into vices such as stealing and robbery to earn a living. The county government of Kisumu is taking affirmative steps to solve this problem. These steps include wooing investors to invest in the region and establishment of various industries in the region .This will in return create employment to a large number of people and thus improve the living standards of the residents.

Politics

For some time now, Kisumu has been rocked by political violence which occurs mainly during elections .The post election violence which was witnessed in December 2007 affected Kisumu significantly with houses being burned down and property being destroyed. People perceived to be associated with other parties apart from ODM which was the dominant party in Kisumu by then were alienated, tortured and even others killed. This was a major blow to the young economy of Kisumu which was still growing. Most Investors pulled from this region in fear of losing their investments.Currently Kisumu is slowly recovering from this political wave and has started showing positive improvement on economic growth.

Competition 

Kisumu is currently facing competition for investors with other cities and towns within the country .Such cities include Eldoret, Nakuru, Kakamega and Kisii. The county government of Kisumu should list down its comparative advantages over other cities and take up the responsibility of ensuring Kisumu remains at the top hence able to attract investors into the region. Failure to do this will eventually lead to investors withdrawing from the region causing loss of jobs.

Poor planning
This is another challenge which hampers economic development in Kisumu. Local leaders in most cases have poor judgment and lack planning skills which results into negative results. Poor planning is very evident in housing estates which have lead to development of many informal settlements .Drainage and sewerage systems are poorly fixed which may cause decease outbreaks such as cholera. Local leaders should take planning seriously and avoid approving projects which don’t meet the minimum requirements if they want to see Kisumu entering into the next phase of economic development as a cosmopolitan city.

In conclusion the county government of Kisumu should firstly take some measures to reduce these negative influences. It can use tax leverage as a means to help young people engage in small businesses thus creating self employment. This will boost economic development and also raise the standards of living.

FIVE REASONS WHY KISUMU CITY’S FUTURE IS BRIGHT

Kisumu for the last couple of years has been doing well development wise. With the expansion of Kisumu international airport, the glory of Kisumu has continued to shine and now is a town which enjoys a city status. World class roads are being built, water and sanitation infrastructures are being developed and investment by local investors is steadily rising. Kisumu city’s future seems to be bright mainly because of the following reasons;

Infrastructure
This is an element which plays a very vital role in economic development. Kisumu has witnessed Infrastructure development with expansion of roads, sewerage and water lines. The government has also taken steps to redevelop the Kisumu port to make it a commercial port which will significantly improve local trade in the area. The Kenya railway corporation is also planning to build a standard and modern gauge railway network from Mombasa through Nairobi and Kisumu. All these plans spell good tidings and prosperity to Kisumu city which was once old and shaggy town.

Housing Sector
Kisumu city is currently enjoying a property boom in the housing sector as a result of ongoing infrastructural projects. The expansion of Kisumu airport and the planned development of modern gauge railway have opened up the region and more investors are flocking to the city to take advantage of increased housing demand. Growth in education as well as banking sector has lead to increased demand for housing as a result of increased number of workers who have migrated to the city to make a living. According to statistics released recently by the ministry of land and housing, Kisumu is likely to record a greater demand for housing amenities in future. This is because of strategic position of the city which has promoted it to a major business hub in East Africa region.

The East Africa Community
The East African Community has contributed greatly to the growth of Kisumu town mainly through trade. Kisumu enjoys a special location within East Africa region. It is linked to other countries like Tanzania and Uganda by a modern network of roads ,efficient water transport as well a railway line which runs from Mombasa through Nairobi and Kisumu and finally in Uganda. With the recently signed treaty which is targeted to eliminate unnecessary trade barriers among the three east African countries, Kisumu will experience a new rebirth as a center for commerce and trade.

Devolved Government
This will give a new face to Kisumu since Devolution will bring government services closer and eliminate corruption which is a common scenario in Kenya. Devolution will ensure that measures are put in place to leverage Kisumu against its economical, social as well as political challenges .Implementation of devolution will also guarantee a conducive environment to local investors. It will give Kisumu a new path to growth by opening up this region which has a huge potential of becoming a major tourism player not only in Kenya alone but also in East Africa region generally .

Rich Hinterland
Kisumu has an interesting hinterland which spreads into Uganda and Tanzania. It is also bigger than that of Nairobi and accommodates more than 30million people. Kisumu has a responsibility to protect its hinterland against other emerging cities in the country as well as helping it to develop and actualize its hope sometime in future.

With quality leadership and right policies in place I don’t see why Kisumu cannot become a key city in Kenya and East Africa region as a whole in terms of economic development.

KISUMU; A LAND OF BEATIFUL TOURIST ATTRACTION

Kisumu is a city located in western part of Kenya. It is the third largest city in Kenya and hosts various attraction sites which draw visitors from all parts of the world. Some of these sights include;

The Kisumu Impala Sanctuary

This is a tourist attraction site located a few kilometers from Kisumu’s busy town centre. It provides an ideal refuge for threatened wild animals within the city and its environs with a special attention been given to impalas. This is where it derives its name. It features a vast area of nature trails and several picnic sites which offer excellent venues for functions such as corporate events and weddings. There is also an animal orphanage within the sanctuary which holds various types of wild animals such as leopards, baboons, jackals and buffaloes. It is also a home to many bird species which attracts birdwatchers from various parts of the country.

Kisumu Museum

Another interesting sight in Kisumu is Kisumu museum which was officially opened in 1985.Its proximity to Lake Victoria which is the second largest fresh water lake in the world, has made it a research center for maintenance and sustainability of biodiversity of Lake Victoria. It has comprehensive history exhibits of material culture of the western rift valley, traditional adornments, fishing gears and hunting weaponry. It has also various dioramas on display such as lion and monkey.

Tom Mboya Mausoleum

Tom Mboya’s mausoleum is also a point of interest in Kisumu.It is an historical site built in honor of Tom Mboya who was a black flywhisk political hero. It preserves gifts he received when he was still alive. Some of these items include a black nameplate souvenir he received from Chinese government, several flags of the countries he visited, condolence book signed when he was being buried and the holy bible with holy water on it which Mboya received as honeymoon gift in Israel. This manicured mausoleum is a major tourist attraction point and attracts researchers from different parts of the world who travel to this area to dig information on various aspects especially on pre-independence period.

Kisumu International Airport

Kisumu international airport also called the pride of Kisumu is one of the busiest airports in Kenya and serves as a direct link to the rest of the world. With chartered flights coming in from as far as Middle East, it has opened up the region for international tourism as well as boosting the general economic development through increased local trade. The airport is highly developed with world classic travel facilities such as enhanced immigration and security features, modern control tower, ample parking space, VIP lounge and restaurants. It has also made the exportation of fish and flowers which is a major source of income to the locals, quite easy and efficient thus eliminating the huge losses they used to suffer previously as a result of road transport which is very slow.

Luanda Magere Site

Luanda Magere is another interesting site found in Kisumu.It is believed to be a spot where Luanda Magere died. Magere was a great warrior in Luo community and people far and wide come to this site to consult his spirit in time of war and calamity. At the center of the site stands a brownish rock partly sank into ground and shaped like a human being which is believed to be Magere’s   body curved. The site is characterized by traditional artifacts such as war weapons which are placed under an indigenous tree and are believed to belong to Magere. Visitors travel to this site from all parts of the world to get a glimpse of this mythical legend.

Conclusion

Tourism is an important industry in Kisumu and it plays a major role in shedding unemployment in this city. It is a sector which is currently nourishing due to steps taken by the government to improve it in terms of modern infrastructure and creation of standard   amenities as a result of the economic benefits derived from it.

KISUMU HOTELS AND RESORTS

Kisumu is a city that boasts of modern family friendly hotels and resorts with extra ordinary assortment of facilities which guarantees relaxation and privacy for travelers all the time. Visitation of these hotels by leisure quests provides value to them as well as promoting and developing the economy of this area hence able to attract more visitors.

 

Imperial Hotel

Imperial hotel is one of this modern hotels located in Kisumu.It is a luxury hotel and a premium destination in Kisumu. It is strategically placed thus easily accessible. It has everything in a perfect setting that provides an excellent environment for you to take a break from your busy schedule. It has also plenty of recreational activities which mean you have a lot to do during your stay. It offers magical accommodation which exudes an atmosphere of total peace and harmony at an affordable cost. Imperial hotel is an ideal place for visitors looking for charm, comfort and convenience in Kisumu

Kiboko Bay Resort

Another hotel rated among the best the hotels in Kisumu is Kiboko Bay Resort. It is located in the silver ribbon of Lake Victoria and offers ultimate natural paradise. The idyllic setting of the hotel on the side of Lake Victoria is a perfect gateway for overworked corporates to relax and rest from their normal regular duties. It also offers a good environment to conduct conferences, seminars and work shops. It has various dining options with quality foods, motivated and efficient personnel who deliver quality services to visitors. The hotel gives travelers the luxury of embracing the wonderful feeling of an African adventure in absolute comfort.

Jumuia Quest House
Jumuia quest house is another hotel located in Kisumu that offers the discerning corporate and leisure travelers a serene, relaxed and comfortable environment with executive services. The hotel is endowed with amazing charms and natural attractions and is positioned strategically to provide perfect and unobtrusive services. Its rooms are modern and fully air conditioned and features views of the immediate environment from the comfort of a balcony.

Rusinga Island Lodge
Other hotels include Rusinga island lodge which enjoys an ideal setting on the shores of Lake Victoria. It is fringed by beautiful lawns, swaying palm trees stretching down to the water’s edge. In addition to road transport it is also served by an airstrip which makes it easily accessible. It is best known for its hospitality, traditional dishes and comfortable accommodation which make it an ideal home for travelers. It has also spacious and safe children play grounds full of sports facilities which offer children an ideal environment to release energy and catch up with exercise. Along the shores of Lake Victoria visitors can also enjoy invigorating water sports or engage in domestic fishing .Lake Victoria is a home to legendary Nile parch which is very popular in local as well as international markets.

 

Conclusion

All these hotels are world class luxury hotels and are committed to promoting integrity in such areas as cleanliness, facilities, services, location and pricing. The hotels offer affordable accommodation and are sophisticated with African furnishings and a luxurious atmosphere. They always give first priority to customers and constantly stripe to exceed their expectations.

TOP FIVE PLACES YOU MUST SEE IN KISUMU

Kisumu has undoubtly the most amazing places to visit as compared to other parts of Kenya. A tour to Kisumu will be totally incomplete without visiting these places. They include;

The Shopping Malls

Kisumu has several modern shopping malls where you can get almost everything you need. These malls are strategically located and are under 24 hour surveillance which boosts security. They also have ample parking space and various security check points. They include United Mall which is located along Jomo Kenyatta Highway, Nakumatt Mega City also known locally as city in a city because of its magnificent design. It is based near Kachok center on Nairobi road and is the best shopping centre in Kisumu, Swan centre is another shopping mall which is located along Oginga Odinga Street on your way towards Lake Victoria and lastly there is Mega Plaza located in the city centre along Oginga Odinga Street. These shopping centre’s have modern facilities and offer variety of items ranging from foodstuffs to electronics..

The Markets

There are several markets in Kisumu which deal with a variety of goods and services .More and more markets are springing up in this area and this is mainly because of modern infrastructure which has transformed the once old and sleepy town to a modern cosmopolitan city. These are unique places where you can find a variety of fresh and unprocessed goods at considerable prices. These markets include are Oile, Jubilee and Kibuye, Oile and Jubilee are local markets and mainly deal with consumer goods. Kibuye is the biggest market and is a major trade centre in East Africa region. It is usually alive on Sunday and you can get almost anything you think of once you are there.

The Beaches

Kisumu is also endowed with charming, sandy beaches located along the pristine coast of lake Victoria. These are action packed centers which play host to numerous water sports activities as well as rich aquatic ecology. Lwangni beach is located along the lake and is the place to go if you have a dream of relaxing on a comfortable bed under the shade of palm trees with a cool refreshing breeze from the lake stimulating your feelings. It offers also traditional dishes such as a big fried/stewed tilapia together with a plateful of hot ugali. There is also Dunga beach situated in the village of Dunga a few kilometers from Kisumu town centre. It has a bevy of water sports activities mainly boat riding where visitors can rent boats for a trip to explore the regions majestic lake waters.

Jomo Kenyatta Grounds

Kisumu also boasts of a large and beautiful park located in the heart of the town. It has public recreational facilities and a number of local restaurants .It is a popular centre for concerts and sports events which are organized all time round because of its ability to host a large number of people.

These are a must see places in Kisumu. If you are wondering where to have your holiday next time, Kisumu is the most exclusive place you can’t afford to miss.