KENYA CEMENTS REGIONAL LEADERSHIP BY PUTTING FIRST RESORT CITY INTO MOTION
Kenyas ambition to maintain her standing as a regional tourism super power have gained added momentum earlier in the week, when news emerged from Nairobi that the planned Isiolo Resort City was moving further ahead, with the Isiolo County Council now being formally requested to avail over 6.500 acres of land some 20 kilometres outside the municipality. Local political leaders are said to be fully behind the plans, clearly seeing an opportunity of a life time emerging here and a chance to lift their own region and political fiefdoms out of poverty.
Work on a new airfield is already underway, eventually creating a crucial link to not just other parts of the country but the entire region, and the appointment of a Japanese consultancy firm to take the development lead last year now also yielded the first financial feasibility study and conceptual design layout for the project. Taken into consideration were such crucial elements as water, electricity supplies, access and security to what will undoubtedly be one or several gated communities, and facilities on site are to include hotels, resorts, golf courses and related sports facilities, Spas, meeting facilities and art / craft centres.
The site is literally bordering the Lewa Downs Conservancy to the South, Shaba and Buffalo Springs game reserves to the North and the Uaso Nyiro River to the West of the sprawling piece of land, located between the hills of Katim and Degishu and presently understood to be free of squatter or major developments.
Kenya in the Vision 2030 had initially earmarked 3 such leisure city locations, the one now described in greater detail outside Isiolo in Northern Kenya, a second one at Diani South of Mombasa which is already a tourism centre and the third at Kilifi, also at the coast and inspite of its huge tourism and residential potential grossly underdeveloped, although not far from it has a private gated estate been developed at Vipingo in recent years, airstrip and golf course included of course.
When the Kenyan government then decided that a major new port would be build at Lamu and a new standard gauge railway line was to connect the new harbour with Ethiopia and Southern Sudan, Lamu was added as a fourth location for a major new city development besides a location in the Lake Turkana region, probably where the railway would branch off to Ethiopia while the main line will run on to Southern Sudan. Interesting to note that the presently preferred route of the railway would actually run through Isiolo as well, adding further connectivity to the planed new leisure city.
Together with major road infrastructure developments now underway across Kenya, and the progressive emergence of new medium and large scale residential developments, it goes to show that East Africas economic powerhouse is not standing still but determined to create a future for the country, inspite of political uncertainties 2012 is a crucial election year in Kenya and economic challenges, besides which the drought and flood cycles have significantly accelerated in recent years due to climate change spreading its fall out through the region.
Involved in the Somali situation now with troops on the ground, through becoming part of the AU / UN contingent, Kenya is flexing her muscles like never before, aimed to establish a vision and cement a leading role in Eastern Africa and within the two trade blocks, the East African Community and the larger COMESA which stretches from Egypt over Congo DR to Zambia.
Certainly new prospects and developments worth watching to unfold and take shape in coming years.