Kenya Ports Authority managing director Daniel Manduku has challenged investors to tap the huge business potential presented by tourism at the Coast.
He said investing in world-class hospitality shouldn’t be seen as a preserve for foreign investors.
Mr Manduku spoke when he officiated the launch of the Mount Kenya University-owned Nyali Golf View Residence, a multimillion-shilling mixed-use facility in Mombasa.
“There is a myth that investors come in light shades and that they should come from other nationalities. But today MKU has debunked that myth and showed that an investor is someone who is willing to take risk and put money where there is the most opportunity to get good returns,” Mr Manduku said.
The 13-floor building, which is located in the upmarket Nyali area, has premium class serviced apartments, a fitness centre, a restaurant, swimming pool and a penthouse. It also boasts a presidential suite.
MKU, Kenya’s largest private university by student population, ventured into real estate and hospitality market after hard economic times hit institutions of higher learning.
Mr Simon Gicharu, the MKU founder, said Nyali Golf View Residence was built at a cost of Sh600 million.
“We took a commercial loan to develop the investment. It is part of our efforts to diversify our income streams and ultimately establish an endowment fund that will help finance the university’s activities in the long term,” said Mr Gicharu.
He said the investment, which was initially meant to host MKU’s Mombasa campus, offers residence and recreation services to the growing demand for premium tourism and hospitality services.
“We wanted to invest in something that Mombasa will be proud of and also introduce a new product mix for our tourism industry, which has greatly benefited from recent security improvement at the coastal city,” he said.
Mombasa Deputy Governor William Kingi, who represented Governor Hassan Ali Joho at the function, said the port city is open for investments, especially those that support tourism — the mainstay of the economy.
“Our mandate is to create a conducive environment that can attract investors to Mombasa.
“Millions of people visit the county each year, making it imperative that we build infrastructure and facilities that can meet their needs,” Dr Kingi said.
Deputy President William Ruto, who toured the facility, said it fits well into the national government’s plan on housing, a key pillar of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s agenda in his second term.
“I am pleased that local experts — masons, plumbers and engineers — from our technical colleges from played a big role in the construction of this fabulous building,” Mr Ruto said.
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry KNCCI), Mombasa branch chair Rukia Rashid urged Mombasa residents to venture more into real estate, which remains promising, given the changing demographics.