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Homa Bay International Investment Conference Attracts Hundreds

The County’s   first International Investment Conference ended in a thrilling note, with leaders and scholars hailing it as a  step towards  economic  empowerment of the lakeshore county.

More than 200 local and International Investors, economic and investment scholars  attended   the  two day event that started on February 18.

Governor Cyprian Awiti  said  the  conference, the first ever in Nyanza   was a huge success.  More than thirty local  and international  companies  and NGOs   also  pitched  exhibition booths.

“We are right now shifting through the many MOUs signed  with many investors  and will publish them in due course,”  said  Mr  Awiti.

Cord Leader Raila   Odinga, Kisii Governor James Ongwae were aming senior political leaders who attended the conference.

Mr  Odinga gave  a key note speech  and  unveiled the  County’s  Strategic  Investment Plan (SIP),  described  the  event  as  historic   and encouraging.

“This conference is part of the evolving and running story of the wonders of devolution. At no time in its history has Homa Bay town hosted a conference to take stock of and showcase the opportunities it has for the growth and development of its people,” said Mr  Odinga.

The Cord leader praised Governor Cyprian   Awiti   and his Deputy Hamilton Orata for what he said was  a highly successful conference  that attracted  investors   from as far as   Switzerland in Geneva.

He said the two day conference was a demonstration that Devolution has changed the architecture of development.

The Homa bay International Investment Conference was supported by USAID, UN Habitat and several other local companies.

The conference also  attracted more than 30 local and international corporate exhibitors.

Also at the  conference were top  CEOs  from  blue chip companies  and professional  bodies such as  Delloite  and Touch, Strathmore University, Price Water House  Coopers,  the Afeican Development Bank,  Kenya  Association of  Manufactures,  Maseno University, Jaramogi Oginga University of  Science  and Technology and  Ken-Invest among others.

Mr  Awiti  said  investment summits  were the only way county governments could court investors to help bridge  their development needs.

“In Homa Bay we are focusing on key socio-economic growth industries and sectors including: Agribusiness, Trade and Manufacturing; Infrastructure, Renewable Energy and ICT; and Social Services and Tourism,”  said  Mr  Awiti.

He added: “A total of 39 prioritized projects available for Investments were presented to the investors and we have received an overwhelming expression of interests.”

The County  Executive  Member for  Trade, Industrialization , Investment and Cooperatives, Prof  Tom Ogada  said  many investors  were keen on Agri-business,  Tourism, Education, Energy , Minerals  and Natural Resources  and the  Fisheries.

Governor  Awiti had earlier told  the Investors   that the county  had many attractive tourism sites  and wanted  business partners to out  up five star hotels, cottages  and conference facilities along Lake  Victoria  shores.

He also said  the County wanted  investors  to put  Fish processing plants .  Homa Bay produces nearly 80 per cent of the total fish in Kenya   and we need  to add value  to this produce.  We need   to process   the fish into fillets and other products at the source,” said  Mr  Awiti.

Mr  Awiti said the County was  relying in investors   to address 90 per cent of its  development needs.

“We attracted many investors because we have visible enablers and incentives.  We have prepared our County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP 2013-2017) a Strategic Investment Pan (SIP 2016-2020)  and  an Investment Policy.  We also have the land and a conducive political environment,” said  Mr  Awiti.

The governor defended counties   that have also held the investment conference against accusations that these summits were coming too late.

“I want to tell critics of this noble cause that it is never too late  to bring investors  to the counties.  We are doing it  for posterity  and not to seek re-election.  The investors  we are courting will help our  people long after we have left the scene,”  said  Mr  Awiti.

And in his address to the Homa Bay conference, Mr  Odinga challenged  governors   to use  the partnerships  with the private sector   to improve the lives of the people.

“Increasingly, our people are placing their hopes and their future on the county governments. He   said  Homa bay  had  set the pace by opening the Kabunde  Airstrip  through collaboration with the Kenya  Airports  Authority.

“This Airstrip has opened up Homa Bay to the international community   and we want to see more Investors flying into Homa  Bay to help create more wealth,”  he  said.   Fly 540 is operating five flights to Kabunde every week.


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