Despite political instability Meru tops as a trade hub

There is something peculiar about Meru and you’ve noticed it already if you’re really keen. No, we are not talking about the political instability between ‘Governor ni Mama Versus MCAs or the steaming impeachment talk in the town.

 For a long time, Meru has been silently acting as Kenya’s silent entrepreneurial boiler room. The Mt Kenya East county is today home to some of the best business empires in Kenya.

Talk of Yetu Sacco, Solution Sacco, Capital Sacco, Times U Sacco, Golden Pillar Sacco, Siraji Sacco, Bei sawa Supermarket among many others. Various big entities including banks and supermarkets such as Magunas, Naivas, Mega wholesalers, Khetias, KFC, Equity Bank, Cooperative Bank, Postbank Stanbic Bank, NCBA Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, ABSA Bank, Family Bank, ABC Bank, Sidian Bank, Diamond Trust Bank and National Bank form a list of endless business outlets established in Meru.

The County has grown tremendously since devolution was enacted in 2010.

Businesses were however hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic where some were forced to close. Shop spaces were left unoccupied for months with workers losing their jobs. Many employers were unable to sustain them due to strained economic times.

It is at that time Tuskys supermarkets went under, closing its branch in Meru town and sending all its workers home. Budget Supermarkets followed suit.

Despite this, Tens of hospitals, churches and schools have also sprouted in the fast-growing town.

Meru county has a total of 183 health facilities, of which 116 are public, 44 Church owned, and 23 are owned by private organizations and non-governmental organizations. These include St Theresa Mission hospital -Kiirua, Maua Methodist hospital, Meru Doctors plaza hospital, Karen hospital, Grace Park Medical Centre, Aga Khan hospital, LifeCare and Jekim hospital among many others.

The housing sector in Meru has also in the recent past been in the spotlight for its growth. The town, which occupies a unique place in the eastern and the upper eastern Kenya trade circuit has seen rapid development in both the central business district (CBD) and neighbouring towns.

A coincidence? No. We think there is more to Meru than meets the eye.

This can be attributed to its unique location as it borders five other counties: Isiolo County to the north, Nyeri County to the southwest, Tharaka Nithi to the southwest and Laikipia to the west.

The booming of Meru town can also be credited to the town’s vibrant higher education sector, banking & insurance, and agri-business. Also, the county’s position in the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Corridor (LAPPSET) has attracted investors.

The County and town’s predominant economic activity which is dominated by the miraa trade could have won the heart of the investors due to the huge flow of cash in the area.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) 2021 report, Meru is among the top five counties in agricultural production of products such as tea, maize, vegetables, potatoes and raw milk. KNBS says that Meru county performs better than all the other counties mainly due to its abundance of agricultural products especially fruits and the availability of forest resources-a report that could have attracted more investors.

The County also contributed Sh 198,075 million to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sectors in 2020 as revealed by KNBS.

Residents have attributed the development to improved security and the ever-increasing building and office spaces, with developers keen on exploiting the growing opportunities by putting up commercial buildings.

Before independence, Meru was one of the country’s economic and agricultural hubs.

It attracted white settlers who grew wheat, and maize and kept livestock for beef and dairy products.

However, over the years this has rapidly changed. Large-scale agriculture declined and other viable commercial ventures like real estate, manufacturing, and the hospitality industry thrived.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button