Eldoret Municipality has reached the investment attraction phase in its historic journey to be conferred into the country’s fifth city.
Eldoret being the gateway to the northern transit corridor and gateway to East Africa Community, a 7-member states’ body with a total consumerism of 300 million people, has earned the town a great potential in both agriculture and industry within the context of its commerce sector which includes not only trade but also services and manufacturing.
The town has earned a huge boost by being headquarters of the North Rift Economic bloc (NOREB) which comprises of a number of counties which include Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Samburu, Trans Nzoia, Turkana, Uasin Gishu and West Pokot. Most of the people from the region carry out several businesses in Eldoret town promoting its commercial status.
In an interview with the Kenya News Agency, Eldoret Municipality Manager Tito Koiyet pointed out that Eldoret is one of the fast-growing towns in Kenya at a rate of about 5.1 per cent to 5.2 per annum in comparison to the national average of about 3.7 per cent.
He affirmed that the journey of elevation into city status has accelerated interest from investors in the field of manufacturing, agro-processing, hospitality and logistics.
“Eldoret is a logistics hub being one of the few towns in Kenya which are privileged to have an international airport, railway line, trunk roads like A8 road crossing the heart of the town and has close proximity to the industrialized urban towns in Kenya like Nakuru, Kitale, Kisumu and other towns within the north rift region,” said Koiyet.
Koiyet noted that Eldoret being an agricultural town has earned it high ratings from people with interest in investing in agricultural value addition and processing particularly in avocado, coffee, macadamia, maize which is the main crop as well as processing of animal feeds and other by-products that are coming from agriculture.
He commended the presence of an international airport, national referral hospital, and educational facilities like Moi and University of Eldoret universities as key to the attainment of city status.
The manager alluded that having an international airport like Moi is a key infrastructural facility for urban growth. Besides facilitating faster access to the country’s capital Nairobi and other regions, the airport provides ease of access to regional and international markets for the perishable agricultural export products like flowers among others hence boosting foreign exchange earnings.
He further said that Eldoret is educational hub as it hosts a number of internationally recognized universities which work in collaboration with the municipality in areas like carrying out research and studies of various types within the municipality and also around the country.
Koiyet mentioned that Eldoret is also a hub of medical services with a leading national referral hospital, the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), which has pumped so many other opportunities in the space of medical services in Eldoret, making it one of the busiest medical destinations in Kenya with people coming from various parts of the country as well neighbouring countries like Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
“Eldoret itself, as it embarks on the journey of becoming a city, is fully prepared to host all the opportunities that come. The county and the municipality have invested in relevant infrastructure to support the influx of investors. We have done roads, drainage, street lights, we are doing non-motorized transportation and improving facilities as well,” said Koiyet.
“The county government has also been talking to various investors who are already investing in hospitals and other social amenities,” he added.
Koiyet confirmed that negotiations with various investors are ongoing from both the county and the municipal levels as well as at the national level with the main areas of interest being housing, logistics and warehousing as well as general construction for infrastructural development and other social amenities within the region.
The journey to the conferment of Eldoret in to the country’s fifth city received a huge boost from the UK which supported the municipality to develop Urban Economic Development Plan. The plan entails detailed study of the opportunities that are available in Eldoret and as a result, a long list of value chains was identified that any investor could readily invest in with assured return on investment.
The main areas of focus in the plan are in Trade and Services, Infrastructure Development and Economic Empowerment.
Koiyet pointed out that there was a wide range of opportunities identified in the final report prepared by the Ad Hoc committee on the conferment of Eldoret into a city that was handed over to the UK High Commissioner Jane Mariot.
“Two weeks ago, we had the UK High Commissioner to whom we officially handed over the report. As we speak, we are in what we call investment attraction phase where a list of projects have been identified sounding as potential investment opportunities and The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office of the British High Commission has kindly accepted to do some seed funding for those investors who wish to pick up some of those opportunities,” said Koiyet.
In regard to affordable housing, Koiyet stated that the municipality has sufficient space of undeveloped land which is serviced and other land which requires redevelopment to accommodate all levels of residents from single bedroom dwelling units to 3- and 4-bedroom.
He hinted on the idea of constructing high-rise buildings to accommodate as many people as possible by affording them urban living standards.
“There is a national effort by the President to ensure every city has sufficient housing for its residents and Eldoret has not been left behind. We are working together with the national government and our governor is more particular about improving the housing of Eldoret residents. The town has fairly enough space to construct houses suitable for all cadres of people in Kenya particularly for affordable housing,” he said.
The chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee on conferment of Eldoret to city status, Willy Kenei, who also serves as Uasin Gishu Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) chairperson revealed that the committee is satisfied that the municipality has met all the requisite requirements by the law to become a city like infrastructural facilities like roads, street lighting, markets, fire stations, waste disposal and disaster management capacity.
“As the Ad hoc committee we looked into many criteria provided by the law to ensure that if we become a city, the residents will be able to be served by the services and utilities available in the municipality. We are satisfied that the municipality has sufficient infrastructural development to support the city. We have sufficient health care services, educational facilities, airport, crematorium and many others,” said Kenei.
He noted that industrialization would spur growth in Eldoret and that the government is ready to set up industrial parks and economic zones.
He added that infrastructural development in terms of roads, waste management and power is already developed and that the only thing an investor would do is come with equipment and set up their manufacturing ventures.
“We have raw materials especially in the agriculture sector, human resource, education institutions in this region and the labour are readily available. This will be a game changer in terms of economics of the city which will also be a key opportunity in providing employment to many residents,” explained Kenei.
Kenei pointed out that the committee is in the final stages of preparing the report which upon completion, would be handed over to the county executive who will in turn hand it to the County Assembly to be tabled and discussed on. The Assembly will later forward the report to the Senate for further discussion and recommendations and finally handed over to the President for consideration of the conferment of Eldoret into a city.
“As stakeholders from this region most likely at the end of the year, Eldoret will become a city. This will attract many investors from outside Eldoret and even internationally to come and set up manufacturing ventures,” he said.