Kisumu is the third-largest city in Kenya with a population of 567,963, lying on the northeaster shore of Lake Victoria, the largest fresh-water lake in Africa. Through the Lake, the city links Kenya to her two East African Neighbours of Uganda and Tanzania. Kisumu, which enjoys good infrastructure of road, rail and airport, is the most important commercial, industrial, and transportation centre of western Kenya, and the second most important city after Kampala in the greater Lake Victoria basin.

Kisumu city government’s vision is to develop and sustain a dynamic, innovative and sustainable city for all. As a result, the city is preparing to host the Africities conference in November 2021, which is the most important democratic gathering in Africa. Moreover, the city is also in the process of developing its physical development plan, as well as its lake front. The World Bank-funded Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP) is helping improve the city’s infrastructure and key amenities. Kisumu is also part of the United Nation’s Millennium Project led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia University, to develop a concrete action plan to reverse poverty, hunger and disease globally.

Although the city has a young and dynamic population, the unemployment rate among young people is about 40%. Moreover, only 18% of the city’s households own a small or a medium-sized business.  Another challenge for Kisumu is posed by its location, which is an environmentally sensitive area, and so the city’s economic activities have the potential to affect the ecosystems of Lake Victoria and that of the entire Nile River, if they are not conducted in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. So, to address these challenges, there is a need for programs that encourage economic growth amongst the city’s youth through reskilling and upskilling initiatives, and programs that address the production value chains within the city to ensure they are environmentally responsive and effective.   
 

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Molina de Segura
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