Kenya: How Investors Sabotage Themselves in Nanyuki

23 November 2020

Failure to carry out proper feasibility studies has been blamed for the collapse of hypermarkets in Nanyuki town despite its booming economy.

Despite being a metropolitan town with a population of more than 49,000 people, hypermarkets have not been able to make a firm grip on the economy.

Ironically, the town is one of the biggest tourist destinations with firm ties with foreign investors brought about by establishment of British army facilities.

Investors have, however, been blamed for focusing on capturing the foreigners through hefty pricing of goods and ignoring the locals.

The notion is that it is the foreigners who have more money.

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) has raised concern over the rise and fall of various hypermarkets in Nanyuki town.

Speaking to the media, KNCCI Laikipia branch chairman Ndegwa Gitonga said various premises have closed down over the years despite having proper infrastructural growth.

Due diligence

Mr Gitonga appealed to investors to conduct prior feasibility studies before setting base in the bustling town.

"It is hard for the government to regulate capital markets. Investors willing to venture into supermarket business in Nanyuki should properly do their feasibility studies because residents are very sensitive to prices and quality," Mr Gitonga said.

In 2018, Choppies Superstore opened its 16th Kenyan branch at Nanyuki Mall, shortly after Nakumatt Supermarket left.

In November 2019, Tuskys Supermarket opened its 60th outlet but in November 2020, Quickmart Supermarket took over the premises.

Recently, Chieni Supermarket opened its second branch in the town near the main bus terminus. The premises were left vacant after Spears Supermarket closed its doors.

"Over the years, many businesses have been set up while others have collapsed and we can only learn from the ones that have fallen," the chairman said.

He said KNCCI will strengthen its partnership with the government to ensure that residents pay taxes accordingly and that more economic development is entrenched at the grassroots.

Business exhibitions

KNCCI plans to hold business exhibitions on Tuesday as part of the celebrations to mark 100 years since Nanyuki was gazetted as a town by the colonial government.

Nanyuki has grown into a cosmopolitan town which has witnessed tremendous infrastructural and economic growth.

"We have been marketing Laikipia as a stand-alone tourism destination and the tourism industry has immensely thrived," Mr Gitonga said.

On November 24, 1920, Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Colony of Kenya, Mr Edward Northey, gazetted Nanyuki as a town.

"In the exercise of the powers conferred upon me, ... I, the Governor of the Colony of Kenya and the East Africa Protectorate, hereby declare the area described in the schedule hereto to be a Township for the purposes of the East Africa Townships Ordinance, 1903, and to be named Nanyuki," read the notice in part.

The town hosts the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK), Kenya Army's 10 Engineers Battalion, and Kenya Air Force barracks.

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