Kisumu Lakefront Development Corporation (KLDC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) to construct a 26-km promenade along Lake Victoria.
The promenade to extend from Camp David to Dunga beach is expected to open up the lakefront for development in an effort to have the city face the lake.
KLDC Chairman Edward Ouko said the corporation has received Sh25 million seed fund from the county government of Kisumu to start the project, which will act as a launch pad for a series of developments along the lake.
Ouko said the promenade will be used to walk along the lake, cycling and regulated driving to showcase the beauty of the lake and its economic benefits to attract investments.
“We have a jewel of a city which if you were to send to somebody in Europe they’ll wonder why it is not facing the lake,” he said.
Speaking during a reconnaissance boat ride along the lake over the weekend, Ouko said KLDC has already mapped out a number of projects to be undertaken in efforts to develop the Kisumu lakefront to world class standards.
Among the projects lined up is a marina at Dunga where land is being sought for construction of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers facing the lake.
Others include a harbor where large passenger vessels and boats will dock, an ecotourism area around Hippo point, fish landing sites and fish processing plants, an 18-hole professional golf course, a public beach and a port.
The Port of Kisumu has already been refurbished by the national government at a cost of Sh3 billion and is expected to be launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta soon.
The corporation, he added has also demarcated designated areas for luxury hotels along the lakefront.
“A number of hotels have already expressed interest and are just waiting on the wings to be allocated space to build,” he said.
He said the developments will unlock the economic potential of Lake Victoria and at the same time open up tourism in the area.
This, he said will have a ripple effect on trade and creation of job opportunities to spur economic development in the lakeside city.
Even though parcels of land along the lake have been grabbed, Ouko disclosed that KLDC was working closely with the National Land Commission (NLC) to identify and repossess the land to make the project a reality.
Ouko, who is the former Auditor General, said no structures shall be demolished in the process adding that the plan will incorporate existing infrastructure.
“We are going to work with these structures in place. The design will be either we go over or we go under,” he said.
Speaking during the same occasion, Kisumu Deputy Governor Dr. Mathews Owili said turning Kisumu city to face the lake will attract more investors.
“We believe that opening up the lakefront will offer opportunities for investment to spur economic growth in this area,” he said.
KLDC was gazzetted early this year by the county government as a special purpose agency to drive development of Kisumu lakefront.
The corporation spearheads the development of eight thematic zones along the lakefront, which will be key to urban renewal to develop Kisumu into a resort city with modern hotels, waterfront, public beaches and tourism facilities.
By Chris Mahandara.