Infrastructure and Access
Road, Rail Network, Ports and Airports, Airstrips and Jetties
The county has a total of 3500 km road network of which 260 km is of bituminous standard while gravel surface covers 1,701.7 km and the earth surface covers 1389.3 km. Most roads in the county are not passable although a number of sub-counties have made efforts to have all of them regularly maintained. A number of government and other stakeholders have tried to ensure that the roads are in good state. The current government agencies include KeNHA, KeRRA, KURA, county government and the national government.On the other hand, there are other major non-state actors involved in road maintenance including sugar companies i.e Mumias Sugar,West Kenya Sugar Company.
There is need for more stakeholders to come on board so as to improve the state of these roads through regular maintenance, storm water management, maintainance of road boundaries amongst other activities.All stakeholders in different sectors need to harmonise their activities to avoid destruction and interference of other physical infrastructure along these roads.
There are 30 km of railway line with two railway stations; however, they are rarely used due to frequent vandalism. The county has two air strips, one in Kakamega and the other in Mumias. There is need to upgrade and expand the airstrips within the county and revive the railway transport.
Improved infrastructure will enhance accessibility to markets and reduce costs of production.
Posts and Telecommunications: Post Offices, Mobile telephony, landline etc
Kakamega County has 20 post offices and 16 sub-post offices. With the main post office situated at Kakamega town. The usage for the post office has however declined after the liberalization of the courier system which allowed the entry of other private couriers. The population distribution to the nearest post office is between 0-4.9 km. There is only one licensed stamp vendor and four private couriers. The four major private couriers are Group 4 Security services, G4S ,Easy coach parcel services and Wells Fargo courier services.There is need for more players to improve competitiveness hence quality.
The mobile telephone has 85 percent coverage. The network for the major service providers in the county such as Safaricom, Bharty Airtel, Orange, Yu are all within the county borders. There are 94 cyber cafes and others are coming up while there are 1,713 telephone landlines. With the introduction of mobile phones these landlines are declining in their popularity and usage.
There is need to improve mobile telephony network and internet coverage and courier services to enhance communication.
ICT is a major service enabler for Kakamega County development as well as a source of employment for the citizenry especially the youth in the county. The adoption and use of ICT has been on the rise in the county because of the numerous available opportunities but more needs to be done to increase the rate of adoption. Currently we have Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology offering training in ICT related areas for Bachelors, and Post Graduate degrees in computer science and IT. Other various post-secondary education institutions are also offering diplomas and certificates courses in ICT e.g. JKUAT, Sigalagala Polytechnic and various technical institutions both public and private.
The Fibre Optic cable for Internet connectivity has now reached Kakamega and covered some areas in the county along the main tarmac road. A few organizations and institutions along the main road leading and passing through Kakamega town are accessing this. Major ICT companies in Kenya like Safaricom, KDN, Telkom and Access Kenya are currently setting presence in Kakamega and other towns near Kakamega like Kisumu and Eldoret. Likewise, major media companies like Nation Media, Standard Group, MediaMax, and Royal Media for TV and radio stations are accessible from Kakamega.
There is need to deploy a County Information Management System with modules that address the county government business processes and activities. This will ensure proper management and efficient service delivery.The Fibre Optic connectivity must be extended to Sub-Counties to avail affordable internet resources to the people of Kakamega County.
Academic and other training institutions within Kakamega County needs to be encouraged and supported to offer courses in ICT to continue generating qualified ICT personnel to sustain the human resource needs. Businesses around the County should also be encouraged to adopt ICT for proper management and accountability. The County Government should also explore the issue of Digital Villages to be found at Ward level to encourage many people access ICT infrastructure and information resources.
The County must plan to have Digital platforms and E-governance strategies to be able to avail public resources with ease of access and as a cost cutting measure.
For Government office operations, there is need to develop a government Portal for resource sharing and communication. Therefore, this means that office connectivity up to the lowest level must be done immediately.