County governments from the lake region have been urged to invest in the hospitality industry to make the 9nth Africities conference to be held in Kisumu in November a success.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eugene Wamalwa said investment in the hospitality sector was key to give the over 10, 000 delegates expected at the conference a world class experience.
Wamalwa said collaborative efforts between county governments from the lake region was mandatory Kisumu being the first intermediary city in Africa to host the event. “The visitors will not only stay in Kisumu but also in facilities within the neighbouring counties. Therefore there is a need for county governments from this region to invest in the hospitality industry particularly conference facilities,” he said.
The conference, he added, will not only put Kisumu City on the map but also bring along economic benefits to businessmen and the community living in the area and its environs. He challenged investors to take advantage of the conference and improve existing facilities besides developing new ones to meet the needs of the visitors expected from across the world.
The CS made the remarks on Friday at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu which is under construction and will be the venue for the conference. Preparations for the conference, he said, were in top gear adding that the stadium is expected to be completed by February before being officially opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of the conference. “We are impressed by the progress made so far but there are a few areas that we need to work on and that is what we are here to assess,” he said.
Wamalwa who chairs the Africities national steering committee said the success of the conference will open doors for other intermediary cities in Africa to host the event and that the event presents Kenya with a golden opportunity to showcase Kisumu as the best intermediary city in Africa. said the committee will make regular visits to ensure that everything is put in place ahead of the fete.
“The future of Africa lies in intermediary cities because over 50 percent of our population live here and therefore we must redirect out efforts in these urban areas to ensure they are properly developed,” he said.
The CS who was accompanied by Devolution Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Abdul Bahari, Devolution Principal Secretary (PS) Charles Sunkuli and Sports Principal Secretary (PS) Joe Okudo also visited hotels in the area to assess the level of preparedness.
Africities is the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa’s flagship pan-African event that is held every three years in one of the five regions of Africa. The event attracts communities and local authorities in African countries, as well as financial institutions, civil society groups and development partners at continental and international levels.
By Chris Mahandara