The Mombasa – Nairobi – Eldoret – Webuye – Malaba highway (A104) traverses through the County. It is a major link road for trade and commerce. The Webuye – Kitale highway (A1) has recently undergone re-construction, thereby positioning the County as the desired destination for attracting and retaining investment. Some of the major road works undertaken by the national government in the County include: Webuye-Kitale (59km), Musikoma-Buyofu-Mungatsi (ongoing), Lwakhakha-Korosiendet-Tulienge-Sirisia-Namwela-Chwele (ongoing), Musikoma – Sang’alo – Lurambi (ongoing). In the medium term, the County shall seek to upgrade 250 kms of road network to bitumen standards. In doing so, the County shall adopt the network approach in road construction that links key community installations and businesses to major transport corridors.
The desired County road network design features
The County has two underutilized airstrips in Webuye and Bungoma Towns. It is proposed that the latter airstrip, in consultation with the national government, be converted into a recreational or Small Medium Enterprises (SME) park. The County through the intergovernmental relations committee will work with the national government to upgrade and expand Matulo airstrip at Webuye into an airport.
Posts and Telecommunications
The County is served by a network of post offices and sub-post offices in all the major urban areas. Private couriers, namely G-4S Security, Wells Fargo and a number of public service vehicle couriers also operate in the County. There are several mobile phone and internet service providers including Safaricom, Airtel-Kenya, Telkom-Kenya, Jamni Telkoms and Liquid Telkoms.
In 2016, the country had 2,325.8 MW. This was composed of; hydro (818.2 MW), thermol oil (803.5 MW), geothermal (652 MW), wind (26.1 MW) and cogeneration (26 MW). In Bungoma County, 4.5% of the households have access to electricity. With the expansion of the Rural Electricfication Programme (REP), more households will be covered.
Since 2013, 46,520 additional households and 520 additional primary schools have been connected to electricity under the last mile connectivity programme. As for lighting, about 95% of institutions and 20% of households in Bungoma County use electricity as their main source of lighting. A further 27% use lanterns, 67% use tin lamps, and 1% use wood fuel.
According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) 2013, 1% of County residents use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), 2% use paraffin, 85% use firewood and 11% use charcoal as cooking fuel. Firewood is the most common cooking fuel by gender at 85% of male headed households and 86% of female headed households. Reforms in the LPG sector have increased access and utilization of gas for cooking. The trend is expected to continue as more people in the County become aware of cleaner sources of cooking energy. Table 8 shows electricity consumption/sales among selected regions in Kenya.
Data from table above indicates that western region utilizes lower electricity across all the demand areas compared to other regions in Kenya. Therefore there’s need to invest in enhancing electricity connectivity and utilization for both domestic and industrial uses, as a strategy to create wealth and employment.
In the medium term, the County in collaboration with the national government and other development partners will implement a comprehensive rural solar energy initiatives aimed at providing affordable green energy to off-grid communities and their facilities.
The County housing is composed of a mix of units differentiated by cost, usage and material types. The dorminant construction materials for floor are earthen, walls is mud and roofs corrugated iron sheets. Locally available construction materials include; sand, bricks, stones, timber, logs, nails and corrugated iron sheets. The demand for housing in the County outstrips the supply.
There’s need to develop and implement a housing strategy to meet the demand, improve the housing mix, affordability and the availability of housing. The strategy combines three key elements:
- Analysis of local or regional housing needs and conditions
- An aim and a more detailed set of objectives
- Concrete measures to implement these objectives, including financing mechanisms. The strategy will provide a cohesive framework for responding to the housing issues affecting the community. These issues may relate to:
- Population change
- Housing market trends
- Coordination of services
- Protection of urban amenities
- Environmental sustainability
- Efficient land use
- Economic and community development
Benefits of the housing strategy include:
- Identifying potential sites for new residential development and redevelopment
- Supporting local housing objectives more effectively by reviewing existing planning controls.
- Initiating or facilitate local housing projects in response to specific needs- in partnership with the development industry, community housing providers and other levels of government.
- Supporting housing providers and financiers
- Improving systems for monitoring and responding to local housing needs.
- Co-ordinating housing responsibilities in a strategic way across all relevant sectors.
According to a publication by KNBS, Exploring Kenya’s Inequality 2013, housing in Bungoma is classified according to roof, wall and floor material as follows;
Bungoma County has 20% of its residents living in homes with cement floors while 79% have earth floors. 1% of the residents has wood or tile floors.
Only 16% of homes In Bungoma County citizens have either brick or stone walls, while 83% of homes have mud/wood or mud/cement walls, and less than 1% have wood walls. 1% of residents have corrugated iron walls, grass/thatched walls, tin or other walls.
Bungoma County has less than 1% of its residents having homes with concrete roofs, while 78% have corrugated iron sheet roofs. Grass and makuti roofs cover 19% of homes. Since 2013, the County has recorded changes in the housing characteristics described in this section. These changes will be revealed in the subsequent KNBS publications. In the medium term, the County government will provide both financial and non- financial incentives to the private sector to help bridge the gap in housing, especially in the lower end market. Among the incentives will be provision of services land to developers, access to affordable financing and reforms of land related laws.