Friday, 30 March 2012

Turkana zooms into limelight-and riches

THE ONCE GOD FORSAKEN  Turkana country is emerging from the debris into an international limelight for all the good reasons.

Initially famous for famine and cattle rustling, Turkana will soon be bustling in Glory and riches. The county will soon become Kenya’s saviour-at least in terms of energy. Oil has been found in the county. That discovery has excited this country. And some ambitious people, hoping to become oil sheikhs are considering ditching Kenyan cities for Turkana. I hear some  are considering trading their posh SUVs for the Carmel. So I expect the price of Carmel to rise tenfold-again putting the pastoralists at a disadvantage.

 Even before the discovery of the black gold, Turkana was putting its name on the world Map.  Africa’s largest wind power farm that shall generate, 300MW of cheap electricity was being planned. If the financial deal closed today, today being the last day of March, then   construction would begin soon thereafter. That mean Africa’s largest source of cheap power will compete for space with the world’s most expensive source of energy in the same county. What an irony!

The greatest beneficiary of this competition is the proposed Lake Turkana resort city. This is a must because the mandarins and oil sheikhs will need a place to rest their tired bones at the end of a long day. 

The Turkana themselves will gain big. I have seen a document in which one investor is required to supply local communities with clean drinking water, health and education facilities over and roads over the next 20 years. Now let’s face it,  investor in Turkana will be required to provide social- infrastructure as part of their CSR, then in the next 20 years, Turkana county will over supplied.

Just fancy that, a country with more toilets or schools and health centres than it requires. Apart from exporting oil and wind power to Kenya and the rest of the world, Turkana county will also be exporting educational, medical services to the neighbouhood which includes parts of South Sudan and Eastern Uganda.  
 Turkana is quite advantaged. It is bang on the Lamu Transport corridor which means soon, major trunk roads, Standard Gauge Railway line running high speed trains, an Oil Pipeline  from Uganda, South Sudan and of course Kenya. What does the word marginal areas mean? Turkana county, stand tall your time has come!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Mombasa 's water sector crying for investment

During my shot hop to Mombasa last week, I confronted a problem that confronts every resident of the city- dry taps. So to freshen up, I bought a 1.5 litre bottle of bottled water and did some dry bathing.

I wonder how many of you convert significant quantities of drinking water for bathing. 

Back to my experience, so I used 1.5 litres of bottled water to freshen up. Now Mombasa last week was quite hot-and so was Nairobi. Therefore one really needed quite a dip to freshen up.
So I did something similar to a bath and rushed to my appointment. At the tail end of the appointment I mentioned to my host how scarcity water is a serious issue in Mombasa. That comment opened the taps to the following story. My host, a relatively well informed Mombasan, said:

“Demand for water in Mombasa is 18 million litres a day. Currently, its capacity is only 5 million litres a day, which is less than a third of the total demand. To make matter worse, even this quantity never reaches the town.”

Much of the water distribution system to Mombasa is old and rotten. This means that even this little quantity of water also gets lost on the way due to leakages. In Effect, about three or four million litres of water reach Mombasa every day. That is a drop in the ocean.

My source continued. It is not all gloom for the city. The old system is now being replaced so that even the little quantity produced reaches the consumers. After that the authorities will have to work on expanding the supply to meet demand. That, my host said, is the reason why there is a major shortage of water in the city. The old pipes are being ripped off and being replaced with new ones.

My efforts to raise the coast water Authority for comment were fruitless. However, this is a business opportunity crying for investors. Mombasa is crying for a PPP in the water and sewerage sector. Any takers out there? see