Kisii County is among the most picturesque and naturally endowed counties in Kenya. Blessed with breath-taking hills and valleys interspersed by all-year-round clear ﬂowing rivers, the county is a beehive of agricultural and commercial activities thanks to the abundant rainfall and the industrious spirit of our people.
Over seventy ﬁve per cent of Kisii county has red volcanic soils which are deep in organic matter best suited for the growth of cash crops such as tea, coffee, pyrethrum, and sugarcane and food crops such as maize, bananas, beans and potatoes making it one of the very few counties which has never received food aid occasioned by drought.
Kisii Town, the headquarters of the county, is the commercial hub in the region serving the bordering counties of Nyamira, Narok, Homabay and Migori and a total population of over four million. This is conﬁrmed by the presence of 17 commercial banking and ﬁnancial institutions’ branches including the long existing Kenya Commercial Bank, Barclay’s Bank, National Bank and Co-operative Bank and newer entrants such as Equity Bank, Eco-Bank, and K-Rep Bank, all doing thriving business. Indeed Kisii County contributes 60 per cent of the money market handled by the Central Bank in Nyanza Region. Due to this huge turnover of the business handled by these institutions, the Government of Kisii County has written to the Central Bank to establish a Kenya Central Bank branch in Kisii Town to reduce the cost of handling money, further enhancing the attractiveness of the county in terms of investment.
The county and Kisii Town in particular, also hosts all the major supermarket chain stores such as Nakumatt, Naivas,Tusky’s, and Uchumi (now making a comeback) and the local Kisiimatt, all taking advantage of the large population and the positioning of the town.
There are also numerous other business ventures such as hotels, restaurants, sports pubs, among other commercial activities. The county also hosts one of the seven Coca-Cola bottling and distribution plants in Kenya. in some cases, these businesses are owned by investors from outside Kisii County testifying to the cosmopolitan nature of the town. All these endowments make Kisii County an investor’s paradise that one cannot afford to miss out on.
Location of Kisii County
Kisii county is located Kisii in the western Kenya. It has a population of 1 152 282 as per the 2008 census, 245,029 households and covers an area of 1,317.4 sq km.
The population density stands at 874.7 people per sq. km and 51% of the population live below the poverty line.
Kisii County is a major business hub in the Western region.
Due to the massive circulation of money in the region, Kisii town has attracted a total of 17 commercial banks.
Kisii is among the ﬁrst major towns after the Kenya Tanzania boarder and serves as the ﬁrst stop for traders and business community within region.
The ﬂooding of banks in the county is a clear indication that the town is an economic powerhouse in the region.
The town also receives lots of cash from the Diaspora.
Some of the banks that have set up shop in Kisii include, Diamond Trust, Standard Chartered, Kenya Women and Finance Trust, Family Bank, Bank of Africa, Equity, Kenya Commercial, K-Rep, Co-operative, National Bank, Post Bank, CFC Stanbic, Barclays, Ecobank and Credit Bank.
About 90 percent of the residents rely on agriculture for economic empowerment with the main activities being subsistence farming, soapstone carvings, vegetable, dairy, tea, coffee and small scale farming.
Kisii receives frequent convectional rains and enjoys a great highland climate.
The county has nine constituencies and 10 sub-counties. It is a vibrant urban and commercial centre with the town having about 85,000 residents.
According to latest national population and housing census of 2009, it has a large dependent metropolitan population of over 100,000 residents.
Kisii is a bustling town and home to several businesses, organizations, educational institutions and government agencies.
Due to its high population density, the Ministry of Local Government proposed for a spatial modern plan meant to expand the town jurisdiction from Nyakoe, Suneka, to kegati areas of 72 Sq km. The population density stands at 2862 per km.
Economy of Kisii County
The economy of Kisii town today is derived from commerce and agriculture. Kisii town is dotted with tall commercial buildings and is ever bustling with activity. It has several businesses dealing in food processing, health care and education.
Although it has are few industrial setups, the county has the potential for the establishment of large agro-based industries.
Kisii town also hosts large supermarket chain stores – Naivas, Uchumi, Nakumatt and Tuskeys.
Currently, the town hosts 17 commercial banking and ﬁnancial institutions. The banks have taken advantage of the large population and the positioning of Kisii as a major economic powerhouse in the western region.
The local Kenya Commercial Bank branch manager, Mr. John Momanyi, says that across-the-border trade has boosted the economic potential of Kisii town by leaps and bounds.
”The fact that many investors are now intent on setting up shop in this county is an indication that the area is an economic powerhouse,” he asserts.
The manager attributes the huge cash ﬂow within the region to across-the-border trade.
“Unlike other regions which rely on industries as their main source of income, Kisii relies on trade,” he said.
There are also numerous other businesses such as the hospitality sector with hotels, bars, restaurants, sports pubs, among other commercial activities. The county has an airstrip located in South West Suneka where charted planes can land.
The county government has promised to expand the facility. If this is done many of the residents, especially businessmen, local politicians and tourists will make use of this facility.
From Kisii, it is easy to get to Tabaka Soapstone quarries, the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Narok, Lambwe Valley Game Reserve in South Nyanza, Kisumu city and the Kenya/ border point.
Air service to Kisii is minimal. However, chartered ﬂights mainly from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport air ﬂight passengers to Suneka Airstrip situated 9 km southwest of the town.
Kisii has several stadia at each sub-county with the main one being the Gusii Stadium that is a popular venue for meetings and sports tournaments.
Golf is mainly played by middle and the upper income bracket who are members of Kisii Golf & Sports Club.
Kisii (Level 5) General Hospital and Kisii University are the largest central government-owned facilities in the county.
However, the town has several private hospitals and medical centres. These include the Agha khan, Hema, Getembe, Christa Marianne, Nyangena and Bosongo Medical Center.
Education in Kisii County
Academic institutions in the municipality and outlying areas include Kisii National School, Our Lady of Lourdes Girls’ High School, Nyabururu, Kereri Girls’ High School, Cardinal Otunga High School Mosocho, St. Mary’s Mosocho, ltierio High School, Nyanchwa High School, Kioge Girls’ Nyabigena, Nduru, Nyamache, Riokindo Boys, St Angela Sengera Sameta High School among many others.
Notable private schools such as Sakagwa School, Rehema School, Set Green Hill, AIC, Gusii Highlights Academy, Elsa Academy, Elimu Academy Imperial Primary School are located in this county.
Municipal schools such as Kisii Primary School, Jogoo Primary School, Nyanchwa Primary, Getembe Primary are based in the town.
Due the large population and ever-increasing demand for education, most public universities and colleges have set up campuses in Kisii town.
Notable institutions that have set up shop in the town include the University of Nairobi, Egerton University, Jomo Kenyatta University, Kenya Methodist, African Nazarene, Mount Kenya, Bondo University and Narok University College.
There are also several middle level colleges and polytechniques. These include Gusii Institute, Kenya Institute of Management, Kisii College of Accountancy, St. Annes College, Kisii DICECE (Government College Training Early Childhood Teachers) and many more
Recreation in Kisii County
Kisii Library, a branch of the Kenya National Library Service, serves the local residents.
The facility is located near the centre of the town opposite the County Government ofﬁces.
For sports lovers, the Gusii Stadium is the venue for scheduled Kenya Premier League (KPL) soccer tournaments and locally organized sporting events.
Kisii Golf Course & Sports Club is the place for golf lovers and relaxation.
The town has several other leisure and entertainment venues. The town boasts a diverse collection of country and garden hotels. These include Kisii Hotel, Zonic, Storm, Nile Restaurant, Ufanisi Resort, Nyakoe, Mash Park, St. Vincent’s, May ﬂower, Dados, Magharibi, Mwalimu International, Dallas, Josam among others.
It also has numerous bars, sports pubs and many up market restaurants which are popular with both visitors and residents alike.
The town also boasts a couple of nightclubs – The Backyard and Club Webs among others.
Investment Opportunities in Kisii County
Various investment opportunities exist for value-addition in agriculture,soapstone mining and processing, the hospitality industry, real estate development, hydro and waste management among others. The following are some of the areas already identiﬁed as potential areas for investment.
Coffee: The Arabica coffee grown in Kisii County is among the best in the world yet is unknown as it is used for blending with coffee from other countries so as to improve their quality. The county is seeking for an investor to set up a facility to process, brand and market this unique product.
Tea: The top ranked tea at the Mombasa auction is from Kisii County and like in coffee we are seeking for an investor to brand and market our tea both locally and internationally. An investment opportunity also exists in the area of a green tea factory.
Fruit Processing: The County has an abundant supply of fruits (passion fruit, pineapples, tomatoes, oranges) for a fruit processing plant. This can be juice extraction, canning, jams, marmalade, etc. Also, there is an oversupply of avocados to support a medium sized plant to process the fruit into various products.
Pyrethrum: Kisii County was at one time the world leader in the production of pyrethrum which it lost due to the introduction of synthetic products. With the world getting more environmentally aware, the demand for natural solutions has grown. An investment opportunity exists for a plant to extract pyrethrin as an insecticide.
Banana: Various varieties of bananas grow in the county making this the most attractive agro- product for value addition due to its abundance. Investors are welcome to set up plants to process this readily available produce into various products including juice, wafers, crisps, cakes, ﬂour etc.
Sugarcane: Investors are invited to set up a sugarcane factory to process the cane in South Mogirango and Transmara which is currently being transported over long distances to SONY Sugar in Migori County with the consequential damage to our roads.
Energy: Various investment opportunities exist in the energy sector. The Gucha River which ﬂows into Lake Victoria has three major falls with potential for mini-hydro plants. A captive market exists within the county for the electricity generated including selling to the national grid. Another investment opportunity is in green energy (solar panels and wind mills) which have great potential in view of the long hours of sunshine and strong winds experienced in the county.
Mining; Kisii County has two main mining potentials: soapstone and granite. Investors are invited for mining and setting up a plant for the manufacture of tiles, chalk and powder from soapstone. Another investment opportunity exists in the mining of granite, an important component in the manufacture of tiles.
Housing: Given a total population of close to 100,000 residents in Kisii Town alone, this is a prime investment opportunity as there are currently no housing estates in the county. Housing estates are required in all major urban centres in the nine sub-counties. Serious investors will be assisted by the county in identifying land for setting up high, medium and low level income housing estates.
Hospitality: This is an area whose potential has not been fully exploited. The highest rated hotel in the whole of Kisii County is two star. Investors are invited to establish tourist class hotels with conference facilities and resorts to attract eco-tourism and niche products tourism (health, agricultural, nature, sports, cuisine, and cultural).
Livestock: Potential exists for the establishment of a feed meal plant to meet the needs of livestock and chicken farmers.
Facts about Kisii County
Kisii County is located to the south east of Lake Victoria and is bordered by six counties with Narok to the south, Migori to the west, Homa Bay to the north west, Kisumu to the north, Bomet to the south east and Nyamira to the east.
Area (Km 2): 1,317.4 Km 2
Climate/Weather: Has two rainfall seasons; Short (September – November) and Long (February – June), of over 1,500mm per annum with temperatures ranging from 16 0C to 27 0C.
Road Network: Bitumen Surface 73 Km, Gravel & Earth Surface 409 Km – (Kisii Central District)
Population of Kisii County
Population: 1,152,282 (Male – 48 %, Female – 52%)
Population Density: 874.7 people per Km 2
National Percentage: 2.9 %
Annual Growth Rate: 2.75% (2009)
Age Distribution: 0-14 years (45%), 15-64 years (51.6 %), 65+ years (3.4%)
Number of households: 245,029
Government of Kisii County
County Capital: Kisii Town (proposed)
Number of Constituencies (2010): 7 (Bobasi, Bonchari, Bomachoge, Kitutu Chache, Nyaribari Chache, Nyaribari Masaba, and South Mugirango)
Registered Voters: 364,892
National percentage: 2.9 %
Number of Local Authorities (2010): 11 (Town Councils of Keroka, Suneka, Masimba, Ogembo, Nyamarambe, Nyamache and Tabaka. County Councils of Kisii, Gusii, Gucha and Municipal Councils of Kisii.
Economy of Kisii County
Poverty Level: 51% of population live below poverty line
Age Dependency Ratio: 100:94
Resources: Soapstone, Arable land
Financial Services: More than 8 commercial banks, over 6 micro-finance Institutions
Main Economic Activities/industries: Subsistence agriculture, vegetable farming, small-scale trade, dairy farming, tea and coffee growing, commercial businesses and soapstone carvings.
Agricultural products: Tea, coffee, bananas, tomatoes, vegetables, dairy products, maize, sugarcane.
Education in Kisii County
Number of Institutions (2007): Primary (1,101), Secondary (363),
Primary: Total Enrolment (273,111)
Teacher to Pupil Ratio: 1: 41 (Public Schools)
Secondary: Total Enrolment (60,098)
Teacher to Pupil Ratio: 1: 27.7 (Public Schools)
Tertiary: Over 70 (Colleges, Universities and Polytechnics)
Adult Literacy Classes: Total Enrolment (Over 1,600)
Health in Kisii County
Health Facilities: District Hospitals (4), Sub-District Hospitals (9), Dispensaries (80), Health Centres (23), Medical Clinics (12), Nursing Homes (2) Others (6)
Doctor to Population Ratio: 1:34,992
Infant Mortality Rates: 90/1000 (Kisii District)
Under Five Mortality Rates: 109/1000
Prevalent Diseases: Malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia, URTI infections, HIV/Aids
Notable Hospitals: Gucha and Kisii District Hospitals and Tabaka Mission Hospital.