Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti (second right) with Kenyan American Society officials, from left, Charles Kodi, Otieno Ombok and Tom Ogindo during his trip in the US on October 23, 2016. PHOTO | CHRIS WAMALWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Home Bay County government creates a diaspora desk
By CHRIS WAMALWA
NEW BRUNSWICK, NEW JERSEY
Home Bay County government has created a diaspora desk specifically aimed at easing communication between the county and locals living abroad, Homa Bay County Governor Cyprian Awiti has said.
Speaking to a group of Kenyans living in New Jersey in the US who hail from Homa Bay County over the weekend, Governor Awiti said the diaspora desk will, among other things, provide information on sectors and areas of business and investment that would guarantee the diaspora better returns on their investment.
The desk will be staffed by a team familiar with issues around business and investment that have become very attractive to people in the diaspora as they rush to invest in their home counties
“I’m here to tell all Kenyans living in the US that Kenya is open for business and investment. But I’m here to specifically inform you, the diaspora who hail from Homa Bay County that your county takes note and appreciate the role you play in our county’s development through remittances,” Mr Awiti told a group of Kenyan professionals during a luncheon held in his honour in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Saying that he was in the US to explore investment opportunities and possible partnerships with US organizations, businesses and local government agencies for the mutual benefit of both Homa Bay County and the US, Governor Awiti said the diaspora could play a key role in acting as a link between the US and Homa Bay.
“You who live here are our ambassadors because you understand what our needs are at home. We are hoping that you can work with some of these groups who are looking to invest in Africa to invest in our county,” he said.
During the tour, the governor and his entourage met with state and local government and non-profit organisations officials in New York. He also toured various facilities including an equipment manufacturing plant in New York, a wastewater management plant and major interstate road construction project in Connecticut.
Apart from the meetings in New Jersey, the governor also held an investment forum with the Kenya diaspora in New York.
Urging the Kenyan diaspora and other investors and development partners to consider investing Homa Bay, Mr Awiti said there currently exist huge opportunities for investment in the fields of tourism, water sports and sporting activities, low-cost housing and construction of hostels to serve the new Tom Mboya University College community situated in Homa Bay town.
He said opportunities also exist in investing in health facilities, agribusiness and fish farming.
He highlighted efforts his administration has undertaken to ensure a conducive environment for investment which included the rehabilitation of Kabunde Airstrip and launching of direct commercial flights from Nairobi to Homa Bay.
According to him, the county now boasts of reliable water and energy supply and the opening up of the county’s road network for easy access to markets and as a tourist destination.
Governor Awiti was in the US at the invitation of the Kenyan American Society (KAS), a Kenyan diaspora organization whose objective is to strengthen the Kenyan diaspora in the US and its linkage with Kenya by harnessing individual and collective talents, expertise and resources that can influence their social, economic and political advancement to the homeland.
He was accompanied by Nicolas K’Oriko, minister for transport and infrastructure, Chris Agong, chief officer in the transport ministry, MCA Peter Kaula, and Chief of Protocol John Apollo Oloo.
The KAS team that coordinated the governor’s trip included Charles Kodi, an engineer based in Connecticut, lawyer Otieno Ombok and Tom Ogindo, both of New York.