Tag Archive | East Africa

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.

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.