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Kisumu set to become economic hub

KISUMU, Kenya, Jul 25 – President Mwai Kibaki has reaffirmed the government\’s commitment to develop Kisumu city as an economic hub in the East African Region.

President Kibaki said the expansion of Kisumu International Airport, upgrading of road network in the region and creation of an enabling environment to restore investor confidence are some of the government initiatives towards fulfilling the goal.

"Kenya is determined to lead from the front in the East African integration process and in establishment of the common market by providing back-up infrastructure that spur economic prosperity," he told a gathering of Nyanza leaders at Kisumu State Lodge.

The President at the same time said the Government was developing the port of Lamu to ease congestion at the port of Mombasa and fully supported improvement of inter-state infrastructural networks that would ensure smooth movement of goods and traffic in the region.

President Kibaki however emphasized that hard work by citizens and unity of purpose would assist formulation of sustainable strategies that accelerate equitable development as the country gears towards the regional federation.

"Its time leaders shunned petty squabbles that distract Kenyans from effective utilization of the resources and programmes provided by the government to improve on their economic status," the President said.

The Head of State encouraged leaders to guide Kenyans on viable activities that support their well-being instead of waiting for the government to do everything for them.

President Kibaki reassured that the government will continue to address insecurity and other impediments as they emerge to create a conducive environment to do business in the country.

The President advised Kenyans to utilize available expertise and resources in adoption of agricultural and business practices that guarantee better economic returns.

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He said the government had achieved remarkable milestones in the quest to address the diverse problems inflicting its people and expressed optimism that with support of all Kenyans, the efforts would bear the desired results.

"I and Prime Minister Raila Odinga resolved to shelve our personal political ambitions to work together for the sake of unity to make the country a better home for all Kenyans," the president said.

The Head of State therefore challenged leaders to stop wasting time discussing the modalities of cooperation in the grand coalition government and unite Kenyans to nurture peace and unity as prerequisites in development.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga on his part said the establishment of youth and women enterprise funds was part of the coalition government\’s policy to devolve resources to achieve equitable distribution of resources at the grassroots level.

He noted that the government was aware of the impediments in implementation of the devolved funds and was addressing accessibility concerns identified by various target groups.

"The government was committed to completion of a new constitution, reconciliation of Kenyans after the challenges of the last general elections and equitable distribution of resources," Mr Odinga said.

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