Kenyan informal economy rise is responsive to investments

IMG_4830Just 5 years ago, came the first formal multi-storey hotel structure in the Kenyan town of Busia, which abuts the Ugandan town of Busia at the border. Visible rise in the local economy has been noticed by various actors. The first Asian trader, who arrived only 20 years ago, said that the past 5 years have been nothing short of an economic boom in the region.

Nearby Malaba is on its own trajectory, as a future dry port and large scale regional trading hub. It’s ambitions include a 24 hours economy. Speculators are investing in petrol pumps, trucking services, accommodation, and repairs. There’s an unspoken division of labour between these two border towns, one each to focus on the informal and the formal.

All this economic development hasn’t yet transformed into sufficient stable jobs, said a local MP’s niece. More factories would be nice, but the power is unreliable. The internet service is outstanding. I feel as though I can see the middle income trap unfold in front of my eyes.


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