Kogelo big attraction for land buyers and business owners
Posted Monday, November 17 2008 at 20:07
- Over 20 plots sold and village gets its first bar as tourism boom now beckons
Want to start a business or buy a prime piece of land? May be the best place to start shopping is Nyang’oma Kogelo, the village where US president-elect Barack Obama traces his paternal roots.
Less than two weeks since Mr Obama was elected to the highest political office in America and the world, all the shops at the local Nyang’oma Kogelo market have been rented out and close to 20 pieces of land have been sold.
Interestingly, some of the buyers come from as far away as America.
Mr Barrack Obama Snr came from Nyang’oma Kogelo. According to the area chief, Mr James Obalo, even those with undeveloped plots at the local shopping centre have resurfaced and have started making arrangements to develop them, hoping to cash in on the Obama boom.
“Things are moving very fast here. A few days ago, this market did not even have a bar, but now an investor from Kisumu has put up one and more people are coming here either asking for land or premises to let,” he said.
The chief said there have even been inquiries from investors who want to put up a tourist hotel in the area.
“And although the value of land has not shot up, we expect it to go up soon as more people seek investment opportunities here,” Mr Obalo said.
Prospects for investments in the tourism sector in the area look even brighter following a visit from officials of the Ministry of Tourism who said plans were underway to brand the village as a tourist destination to be known as “the Obama route”.
The officials led by the chairperson of the Domestic Tourism Council of Kenya, Ms Anastanzia Wakesho, said the tourism body was committed to creating programmes to make Nyang’oma Kogelo attractive to both foreign and local investors.
Prospects of the village becoming a major tourism attraction are high because of the interest the place has attracted among prospective tourists from not only America but from also from Europe following Mr Obama’s victory in the November 4 presidential election.
According to the general manager of Mombasa based tourist firm, Kenya Easy Safaris, Mr Jones Skipper, since Mr Obama was elected US president, he, Mr Skipper had received numerous inquiries from tourists who want to visit Nyang’oma Kogelo.
“Right now I have two tourists from Poland who want to go to Kogelo and see where Mr Obama’s father was born,” he said.
The area is likely to attract more tourists to the western Kenya tourism circuit because of the association of the village to the American president-elect.
“Because of Mr Obama’s world-wide popularity, he can easily make Nyang’oma Kogelo a major tourist destination,” Mr Skipper said.
And the Government has shown indications that it is committed to opening up the area for investment by upgrading the roads and supplying electricity in the village.
This was the first time since independence that electricity reached the area.
Immediately after Mr Obama was declared the American president–elect, the Kenya Power and Lighting Company set about erecting poles and laying cables to supply electricity to the home of Mr Obama’s grandmother, Sarah Obama.