The Mombasa County government and Kenya Power have finished lighting up the town at a cost of Sh1.2 billion in an effort to woo investors and revitalise tourism industry through the Mwangaza Mtaani project.
Started in September last year, the street lighting programme, involved upgrading of the electricity network in the coastal town and installation of high mast lights in major streets including public beaches.
During the just concluded festive season, visitors to the town were allowed to stay on at the Kenyatta public beach for the first time even after dusk and in the process extending business hours.
Previously the county only allowed people at its beaches up to 6 pm due to safety and security concerns.
Tourism, which contributes more than 50 per cent of the coastal town’s total gross income has for the last two years suffered due to low international visitor arrivals.
The industry has, however, shown signs of recovery in the recent months as the county changed strategy and started aggressively marketing itself as a city of choice for domestic tourists. Mombasa County Governor Ali Hassan Joho hopes the lighting project will further boost arrival numbers.
ENJOY THEIR TIME
“We want to enable our patrons to enjoy their time at the beaches and extend business hours for the vendors,” he said in a statement.
“We have also enhanced beach patrols and traffic management in the popular areas. We will continue to work closely with all relevant authorities and stakeholders to promote Mombasa as the destination of choice for both leisure and investment,” he said.
The street lighting project in Mombasa’s Old Town was carried out at a cost of Sh45 million. The scope of the project in the Old Town includes the retrofitting of 500 existing High Pressure Sodium (HSP) lamps to Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps; replacing 5 km of overhead streetlight conductors with aero-bundled cable conductors; and the automation of the street lighting circuit.
“Mombasa is the second city we have lit up after Nairobi where we have completed the refurbishment of public lighting in 369 streets as well as the installation of 121 high masts in high-population settlements such as Mathare, Korogocho, and Mukuru at a total cost of Sh953 million,” the electricity generation company’s MD Ben Chumo told Nation.co.ke.
Further, a modernisation of the power distribution network in Mombasa’s Old Town that involved the installation of insulated aero-bundled conductor lines and the replacement of wooden poles with the more robust concrete poles at a cost of Sh165 million has also been done.
STREET LIGHTS INSTALLED
Kenya Power says the street lighting project has so far seen the installation of over 12,000 LED lamps across the country. In Nairobi 4,200 street lights were installed.
“Kenya Power’s street lighting project has covered other towns such as Nyeri where 35 streets were lit within the town and its environs at cost of over Sh100 million,” Dr Chumo said. “Other towns that have been covered by Kenya Power’s street lighting project are Kitale, Kapsowar and Iten.”
Narok and Migori have been selected as the next counties where the street lighting project will go to next.
The Mwangaza Mtaani project is part of a $458 million (Sh45.8 billion) advanced by the World Bank to the power distribution company in April last year to upgrade electricity supply in the country.
At least six cruise ships docked at the port of Mombasa during the festive season bringing the number of tourists arriving via the Indian Ocean to more than 3,000, threefold higher than 900 in 2014.
Three more are expected this month and February.