Kisumu in western Kenya is situated on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest and the world’s second largest freshwater lake. It has a population of around 400,000 and is the third largest city in Kenya as well as the principal city of western Kenya. Kisumu is one of the fastest growing cities in Kenya.

Kisumu is a commercial center of a farm region, where mainly sugar, frozen fish, textiles and processed sisal are marketed. The last years, the city has also started to develop a tourism industry with the attractions of Lake Victoria and nearby wildlife.

Major Challenges to the City

Environmental degradation and poverty are some of the challenges Kisumu share with other cities that have a rapid urbanization. Despite a growing economy, Kisumu still registers one of the highest poverty levels in Kenya intensified by a rapidly rising informal sector against a backdrop of collapsing or a declining private sector growth. The infrastructure development and service expansion has not matched the rapid population growth, thus providing a great challenge to the city authority. There is still a high food poverty as well as water supply issues and waste management problems to solve.

Official Launch

During 2012 the Kisumu platform was gradually institutionalized with the set-up of a Secretariat and with an interim Board supported by the Kisumu Action Team, previous host of the platform. In November that year, the platform was officially inaugurated by the mayor of Kisumu, Samuel O’Kello and Björn Häggmark, the Swedish Chargé d’Affaires. New staff was recruited during the year and a local consortium in Kisumu was initiated.

The two flagship project, dealing with eco-tourism and marketplaces have since then been working, involving stakeholders from the public sector, academia, civil society and the practice from and around the environs of Kisumu city. The projects have Swedish support, including Swedish PhD students taking active part in the projects.

The consortium was further developed and a legal entity, the KLIP Trust was formed representing a broad circle of stakeholders, including residents, public and private sectors, civil society and academia.

Enthusiastic Project Development

All projects within the Kisumu platform are formed to explore and understand different questions and themes in the context of climate change, environment degradation and poverty reduction.

The project Ecotourism aims at promoting transformation of eco-tourism as a viable and alternative source of livelihood and community empowerment through innovative approaches by integrating climate change adaptation. The project includes a focus on climate change, environment issues and poverty reduction within Kisumu city and its environs. 

In African cities such as Kisumu the bulk of market places are informal and periodic. The overall scientific objective of the Marketplace project is to increase the understanding of the linkages between periodic market places within an African city and its resource neighborhood and how these impact on levels of human well-being and inequality among sub-groups of the poor. The major overall issue is finding out to what extent cities and regional entities can develop social, economic, environmental and planning policies that can strengthen the potential in developing periodic market places.

A port city situated at the edge of Lake Victoria, Kisumu is Kenya’s third largest city, with more than half a million inhabitants. The city plays an important role in the country’s transportation system, not least as a hub for a large rural population and economy.

Rapid urbanization, environmental degradation and poverty are some of the challenges facing Kisumu.

The Kisumu Action Team, KAT, was established by the Kisumu Municipal Council in 2008. Mistra Urban Futures’ Kisumu LIP initially operated under the umbrella of KAT, now transformed into the KLIP Trust. A number of significant obstacles and constraints to sustainable urban growth have been identified through consultations with stakeholders; these include poor urban planning, inadequate infrastructure and services, degraded urban environment, urban poverty and pandemic diseases. 

Kisumu LIP university partners:

- Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST)

- Maseno University



Gothenburg, Cape Town, Sheffield-Manchester, Kisumu, Global, Skåne, Stockholm
Gothenburg, Global, Under development, Skåne
Cape Town, Global, Gothenburg, Sheffield-Manchester, Kisumu
Kisumu, Kisumu
Gothenburg, Kisumu
  • Stephen Agong
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  • Alfred Otom

    Kisumu Local Interaction Platform Coordinator

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