Whether the two day Kitui Investor Conference which started September 25 will attract the targeted 300 local and international investors will remain to be seen, but no one failed to appreciate the dignity with the event was organized in Kitui town.
And because of the dignity and maturity, it was easy to believe that every one of those who attended were seriously businessmen and women willing to take advantage of the many varieties of investment opportunities in the county.
The county has illustrated to importance of taking into account the traditional wisdom of communities living in various parts of the country. Because of the a few cash crops, many economic analysts have forgotten to empahse the fact that European investors in Kenya took account of the traditional wisdom. In the drier areas of the county such as Ukambani, mixed farming was practiced.
The Kambas herded cattle in the lower zones, leaving the well watered hills for farming and living, The European settlers followed the same wisdom and started ranches in the lower parts of the area. Many of them because multimillionaires.
In the case of Kitui, the Akamba new that it was full of mineral – that is why they called it Kitui (the place for iron smiths). With the variety of minerals, they made household goods, iron and many ornaments (ornaments) with which they established trade with the Asian continent in Mombasa and spread around the country to the Kingdom of Buganda where they were always welcome visitors.
Europeans suppressed this trade which was the mainstay of Kitui mainly because they needed labor. The youth were forced to work in towns and in European farms. And without youth, much of Kitui economy collapsed. The effort became to introduce irrelevant crop agriculture which has given Ukambani a bad name with food shortages.
But Kitui is possibly the most endowed with mineral. It has space for the development of large cities built on the mining economy. Thankfully, the County Government of Dr. Julius Malombe has realized this and its economic zooning emphasizes this.
Dr. Malombe also realizes that “Substantial public and private investment in counties is required to meet their growing needs to provide residential, commercial and industrial space, and the infrastructure and services that boost the national economy.
The conference’s theme was “Attracting Investments and Transforming Kitui County into a Key Player in Kenya’s Economy.”
Among investors interested in Kitui is Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote of Nigeria who has announced plans to set up a Sh36 billion cement plant in the county.
Dangote Kenya Limited has already has secured a license to prospect for limestone in the county. The upcoming factory’s is expected to have an annual production capacity to three million metric tonnes.
Another consortium led by China’s HCIG Energy Investment Company has been awarded a concession deal by the government to develop two coal blocks in the Mui Basin in the county.