Homa Bay International Investment Conference Attracts HundredsHoma-Bay-Asego
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.