On 31st October 2017, on a calm and fairly warm Saturday mid-morning, Taita Taveta saw the ground-breaking and pre-launch ceremony of what would turn out to arguably be the grandest, most vibrant, mega project regionally. This was the pre-launch of the Voi village, more or less a smart village construction set for take-off. It is basically akin to the much hyped Konza city and Tatu city in Eastern and Central provinces respectively.
The ground-breaking was held in two separate occasion in the morning hours, All on Vindo site, a 33 acre land just 4km of the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway. The first ground-breaking was held at the site where the EPZ, Voi Apparel, would be set up and the other site where the Mega mall, the majestic Falcon Hotel and the rest of the imposing residential blocks would be set up.‘’My hope is that collectively we should focus on the bigger picture, our Economy’’
In attendance were the technocrats behind this brilliant project with various backgrounds in economics, law, engineering, etc., led by Engineer Paul Kitololo. Equally the invites list had a diverse mix of respected personalities, regional business leads, Engineers and contractors, section of the clergy, various county government officers, and security personnel and the citizens.
Conspicuously missing however was Taita Taveta County governor His Excellency Granton Samboja, who had however been represented by Nominated CEC, Mrs Mgoda and the C.O.O., Mrs Mlamuzi. Notably at event too were, Voi Member of Parliament, Hon Jones Mlowa, Assistant county commissioner Mr. Eddie, the county police commander Mr. Ochieng’, Taita Taveta University VC, Professor Hamadi Boga and various media houses representatives.
The morning session kicked off around 10, with prayers, before introductions of the Voi village team and various speakers giving their opinions on the same.
Engineer Paul Kitololo, the project brainchild, appreciated the turn up before giving an over-view of the project and equally acknowledging the presence and efforts of the rest of his team players both present and absent.
The county representatives cited innumerable potential socio-economic benefits saying this was indeed a move that would definitely be endorse by the county and equally deserved the community goodwill.
In spite of the county being renowned the most hospitable nationally, Assistant county commissioner asserted that security would definitely be paramount for such a mega project and reassured all that his unit will go out of its way to ensure that right from the onset, during and upon realization of the project, Voi village will literally be a safe village.
Later on the attendees made way to Voi wildlife for the glamorous pre-launch party.
Kicking of slightly after noon, it was mainly a session of in-depth view of the project, with a focus on its inspiration, the nature and content, action plan and ultimate benefits. This would be carried out out by Engineer Paul Kitololo who engaged those in attendance and expounded the above in an hour long presentation.
‘’We had an idea of setting up just a highway hotel, something we conceived way back in 2014,’’ he noted, ’’ however, over time, this escalated to the point of realizing we needed to do more than just a stopover joint. We hope we could set up and entire centre, with more amenities, and numerable advantages harboured to the fact that this was a very convenient location too, hence the concept of Voi village.’’ He said.
‘’We equally considered the needs of our people as a county, lack of much of the essentials definitely gave us the incentive to dream bigger in this regard.’’ He added.
Giving a case in point of shortage of lack of professionals for instance Dentists, ENT specialists, or generally special service centres, he observed there was no point sourcing for this services all the way from other towns such as Mombasa or Nairobi, whereas we can have them within our reach.
Combing through the slides, this was surreal yet achievable. The location proximities were without a doubt a super advantage to all the objectives the team looked forward to realizing. This project cut across the spheres of Trade, Entertainment, Accommodation and much more.
Digging through the benefits Voi village presented, there was a projection of over 10,000 jobs to be realized around both the Voi apparel EPZ concept and the village at center, which would happen gradually across various phases.
Interestingly there would be a special focus on women with 60% of the slots slated for them as an empowerment initiative within the project. And with a good number naturally being involved in the cutting and stitching sector of the Voi Apparel EPZ.
As a project that is equally SDG oriented, Eng. Kitololo, highlighted that as a smart village there is a plan to rely on solar power promising an installation that would result in a 1-2MW production.
In his closing remarks he asserted this was very possible and it was just but a matter of time. He called on both local and international investors to take note and take equally take up slots, get on board and help realize this goal. He equally noted that as the project will approach the uptake phase, there will be a nullified offer to the public domain and based on demand the criterion will be of a first come first serve as stipulated by the board of directors.
‘’My hope is that collectively we should focus on the bigger picture, our Economy’’
He finalised amid an applause.
Later on in the governor’s speech read out by C.O.O. of Trade and Community Affairs, it was certainly clear that this was a welcome project and pegged on the fact that it will boost trade and business at large in the county. Mrs Mlamuzi, not only at her own capacity as C.O.O. of Trade but also as Governors representative, reassured the project pioneers and all who attended that the county government will definitely be of support enabling a conducive environment to see its success.
After a sumptuous lunch break, the event was capped by a brief cake cutting ceremony, prior to which Austin Kitololo had a commentary recap, saying this project, without a doubt, would eventually open up the region and emphasized on the entire team’s commitment towards actualising this ambitious, brilliant, game-changing and superb project.
The event culminated with a word of prayer before guests’ departure.
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