Kisumu to host five presidents during AfriCities

Africities Center

The groundbreaking ceremony of the Africities Conventional Center at Mamboleo Show Ground in Kisumu on July 5, 2021.

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

Five heads of state have confirmed they will attend the forthcoming ninth AfriCities Summit as preparations move into top gear.

The event will be held on May 17- 21, and with only two weeks left, organisers are working around the clock at the Mamboleo ASK Grounds to set up the venue.

Some 10 square tents have been set up to host business, exhibition and media centres, and more for breakouts sessions, dining and VIPs.

Banks and travel agencies are also setting up exhibition centres.

Devolution Principal Secretary Julius Korir said about 8,000 delegates are expected at the international conference, 6,000 of who will be foreign leaders and the rest from Kenya.

"The event is being held under the patronage of the President. He has invited his colleagues from East Africa, Central, West, South and Northern Africa," said Mr Korir.

He spoke at the Mamboleo grounds when he inspected the venue.

"It is a presidential function with various panel discussions. About 172 discussions will be held for the entire five days,"

There will be a gala dinner to showcase various cultures from Kisumu and the rest of Kenya.

Incomplete venue

The five-day event was to be hosted at the Sh1.4 billion convention centre in Mamboleo but the building has not been completed.

"We thought we would have the summit at the convention centre but due to resources and time we were not able," Mr Korir said.

He went on: "We have embraced the tent concept. We are at 80 percent by Wednesday next week."

The summit will boost the hospitality industry, which was hit hard by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will provide the industry the opportunity to showcase what it can offer to the regional market. Several top hotels in Kisumu County are fully booked.  

The theme of the conference is “The Role of Intermediary Cities of Africa in the Implementation of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and the African Union Agenda 2063”.

This edition of the AfriCities Summit will be the first to be held in an intermediary city.

"All the other events have been happening in the capital cities. Kisumu has the privilege of demonstrating to the rest of the world that devolution has resulted in good benefits," Mr Korir said.