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Posted by nulands on January 10, 2017

By: Kennedy Oliver Mwenda

Business Daily, Thursday January 5, 2017

Development economists across the world have opined that physical infrastructure is a requisite precondition for industrialization and economic development. It is a fact that transport has been one of the key influencers of human civilization since time immemorial; Cities and town have grown from transport corridors both at sea and in land.

The decision by the Government to okay the construction of phase two of the Standard Gauge railway, which is expected to pass through Narok and Kisumu, is certain to transform the economic fortunes of these counties. Evidence shows that there is a positive relationship between infrastructure investment and economic growth.

Narok County has been sitting on the cusp of investor opportunity, serving as an economic and tourism nerve center of the south rift region. A critical analysis of the investment opportunities in Narok County will reveal huge untapped potential in Agriculture (value Addition), Energy and Tourism.

Skeptics have in the past poured cold water on the economic viability of the multi-billion dollar infrastructure project. As an optimist and a resident of Narok, I beg to strongly differ. You see, The SGR will not only open up the county and provide access to markets for our farmers and livestock herders, The SGR will significantly reduce cost and time it takes to access the region for passengers and freight being transported from the Mombasa port.

It will take you approximately 40 minutes from Nairobi to Narok using the SGR, this means that anyone can work in Nairobi and be in Narok in time to watch the evening news. Am alive to the allure the city of Nairobi holds but am equally alive to the innate desire and need of Kenyans to delight their evening around a fireplace at the countryside, enjoying cool unpolluted air. The opportunity for working in Nairobi and living in Narok is too hard a bargain to pass on for any urban living resident

The expected population flight to Narok will necessitate investments in housing among other social amenities, consequently improving the investment and economic fortunes of the county. The County Government commitment to creating an environment that makes it easy for companies and investors to do business will ensure that the growth in these sectors goes unimpeded.

The SGR is expected to offer employment opportunities to the youth in Narok as well as technology transfer. Through strategic partnership with higher educational institutions in the county such as the Masai Mara University, the county has the potential to produce the next crop of appropriately skilled and trained human resource to undertake future big ticket infrastructure projects without the need to import foreign human resource

To complement the SGR, The Narok County government will hasten the creation of industrial parks in Suswa. The Geothermal Development Company (GDC) is expected to develop the geothermal fields at Suswa which will offer affordable power to industries and manufacturers setting up at the area. Transport and energy cost will no longer be a concern t any investor willing to set up in the county.

The Tourism sector in the county will reap handsomely with the decreased time spent by tourist heading to the Maasai Mara. It is important to note that tourism doesn’t occur in isolation, besides spending money on marketing & promotion of tourism, it is imperative to build travel-friendly infrastructure in the country. The SGR will effectively put us in a much competitive advantage to the likes of Serengeti in Tanzania and the Kruger National Park South Africa.

What is required now is a complete change of attitude by the county residents; there requires greater urgency for our people to embrace the SGR and put in place necessary foundation for the county to reap its rewards.

According to the Africa Competitiveness Report 2013, African economies can begin the process of deep integration if their infrastructure networks are designed in such a way as to link production centers and distribution hubs across the continent.

The SGR does exactly this in Narok County, Our Wheat farmers in Narok south, potatoes farmers in Nairege Enkare in Narok East and the Mau region will now be able to transport their produce to markets in Nairobi and Mombasa and thus avoid the pain of exploitative middlemen. The Transmara Sugar Factory in Kilgoris is expected to increase output due to the reduced cost of business, this consequently will offer more rewards to our farmers. The Mulot Milk processing plant, the first of the many end products from the counties investment summit, will be able to compete with the leading regional players such as Brookside guaranteeing the county much needed revenue stream.

Such infrastructure will enable the county to compete effectively in the national and regional marketplace, on top of this; The County will tap into regional markets of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

A well-performing and efficient transportation network will lower prices on household goods, it will allow businesses in Narok County to transport goods more cheaply and efficiently as well as access a variety of suppliers and markets for their products. This will invariably enable our farmers and the business community in the county to run more cost-effective businesses as well as improve their competitive edge over other farmers in the region.

The challenge of globalization has forced business worldwide to lift their game in regards to drastically reducing the cost of production and maximizing economies of scale. The availability of land, cheap power, transport and the ease of access to major markets in Nairobi, Mombasa and the region courtesy of the SGR, makes Narok County the ideal destination for potential investors seeking to tap into the growing East African region.


The Writer is the Director of Communication – Narok County

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