Professionals initiate drive to foster development in Nyanza region

A shot of the lakeside city of Kisumu, where the Nyanza International Investment Conference (NIIC) will be hosted.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Background to the International Conference

The conference, themed “Nyanza Rising –Towards Economic Transformation for Socio-Economic Growth and Development”, is a noble event which addresses the urgent need for Nyanza Region and its people to trigger growth and development.

It will bring together all actors and provide an opportunity for the region’s leaders, professionals, and international, national, and local stakeholders, to showcase/present the region’s economic endowment and investment-ready opportunities to potential local and foreign investors.

The conference has been organised by the Nyanza Professionals’ Forum (NPF), a body comprising professionals from Nyanza region and the Diaspora that support the development of Nyanza through sustainable investments across various sectors. Collaborators will be the six County Governments of the former Nyanza Province, namely Kisumu, Homa Bay, Kisii, Migori, Nyamira, and Siaya; the National Government; National Government agencies, including the Kenya Investment Authority; and private sector associations and organisations (PSOs).

The conference aims to explore investment prospects, foster collaborations, and catalyse development initiatives in the Nyanza region. As we gather in the picturesque Kisumu, we anticipate engaging in discussions that will shape the trajectory of investment in this vibrant area.

What will be different about the Nyanza International Investment Conference?

The conference will unpack the existing and potential development challenges and turn them into investable opportunities for private-sector investors.

A comprehensive approach will bring together all actors, including the National Government, county governments, development partners, business leaders, scholars, researchers, the local community, the Diaspora, international organisations, and all the friends of Nyanza. Thus, the conference will also offer a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences while identifying sustainable investment-ready opportunities.

Why the conference?

The conference will offer opportunities in the form of commercial and development investment projects that are of impact to the local communities, county governments, the National Government, and investors in various solicited and unsolicited opportunities.

Consisting of six (6) counties and home to approximately seven (7) million people who derive socio-economic livelihoods from the rich natural resource bases in the region, Nyanza’s per capita Gross County Product is estimated to average Ksh190,000 (US$1,267), thus demonstrating some potential spending power that could grow further up amid increased opportunities.

The Nyanza counties have a vantage position in providing a conducive investment climate and business operating environment needed to spur the much-needed socio-economic growth and the associated outcomes in the counties and the larger Nyanza region through sound and viable investments.

Development context (investment climate)

Economic empowerment, which encapsulates the eradication of poverty, and the creation of employment opportunities, is about improving the quality of people’s lives and expanding their ability to shape their destiny within the realms of socio-economic prosperity. This is exactly what the region needs.

In economic practice, attaining such development demands calls for enhanced and sustained higher economic growth over time. Unfortunately, over the last two decades, the region has suffered the collapse of formal sector and industrial activities. Massive unemployment, degrading education standards, and poverty relegate many residents – especially the youth – to a life of deprivation and hopelessness. Yet Nyanza remains as one of the regions in Kenya with great growth potential, based on its resources.

Economic growth is the most important and powerful policy instrument for reducing poverty and attaining balanced socio-economic development. This would be the pathway for the region to achieve the elusive prosperity and a poverty-free society. To that extent, the Nyanza region, through her counties (Homa Bay, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nyamira, and Siaya), intends to adopt the private sector investment-led economic growth policy, supported by strategic public sector investments.

This rich combination would reduce or end poverty and inequality and enhance factor productivity and productive capacity of the region’s counties, spur private sector innovativeness through investments, effectively deal with climate change vagaries by enhancing the resilience of local communities and county governments, attain and maintain food and nutrition security, reduce youth unemployment, minimise vulnerabilities to the country’s internal and external shocks through enhanced resilience, and promote good governance.

Thus, within this context, the conference seeks to promote private sector investment-led growth and development as the right development recipe for achieving quality growth and long-run prosperity.

Why Invest in Nyanza?

Nyanza region presents a unique opportunity to tap into its economic potential, strategic location, government support, growth potential and cultural and tourism attractions. With the right investment strategies and sound business plans, investors can benefit from the region’s diverse opportunities and contribute to its sustainable development. Some of the reasons include:

Economic potential: The Nyanza region is rich in natural resources, including fertile land, abundant water bodies, and a favourable climate for agriculture. This makes it an ideal location for agribusiness investments, such as large-scale farming, processing plants and agricultural research and development.

Strategic location: The Nyanza region is strategically located in western Kenya, bordering Lake Victoria. Through a network of roads, railways and ports, it offers access to regional and international markets. You can access major markets and urban centres, such as Kisumu, Kisii, and Nairobi, as well as neighbouring Mwanza in Tanzania and Kampala in Uganda.

Government support: The National Government has identified Nyanza as an investment and development priority area. Various incentives and support programmes such as tax breaks, grants and technical assistance will be availed to investors.

Growth potential: With a rapidly growing population, Nyanza has investment opportunities in healthcare, education, real estate and consumer goods. Additionally, the region is experiencing increasing levels of urbanisation and industrialisation, creating demand for new businesses and services.

Cultural and tourist attractions: Nyanza is home to various cultural and tourist attractions, including traditional communities, historical sites and wildlife reserves. These attractions draw visitors from across Kenya and around the world, creating opportunities for investments in hospitality, eco-tourism and cultural conservation.

Blue economy as a driver of economic growth and development in Nyanza

As expected, growth and development activities must take place on some known sectoral or industry platform. Pursuant to this, the Nyanza region has considered and will seek to achieve socio-economic growth and development goals through the Blue Economy Development Platform.

Estimated to be worth more than $1.5 trillion per year globally, the blue economy is a term used to describe the economic activities associated with large water masses such as oceans, seas, and lakes, including inland waterways, namely rivers. In this concept note, blue economy practice means the sustainable use of the lake and river resources to benefit the region’s economies, livelihoods, and the health of the lake ecosystem.

The sectoral and sub-sectoral activities commonly and uncommonly understood to be based on the blue economy platform include fishing and aquaculture, lake watershed tourism, renewable energy, water conservation, development and distribution, smart crop agriculture, smart livestock production and horticulture, upstream commercial agroforestry, mariculture, spirulina production, maritime shipping, maritime tourism, ship/ferry/water buses/fiberglass building and construction, underwater cabling, lakebed extractives and mining of minerals, marine genetic resources, and biotechnology.

Practised well and within the regulations, the blue economy pathways can provide the region with greener growth and development outcomes that are sustainable, profitable, and fulfilling to the local communities within the larger Lake Victoria basin.

Additional information about the conference, including specific objectives, thematic areas, format, organisers, guests, and speakers, is available on this downloadable PDF.

Also, visit the conference website  for further details, and to register and partner with us.