Chinese firm to construct Sh200b industrial park in Eldoret after Beijing deal

Thursday May 18 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping and  President Uhuru Kenyatta attend a signing ceremony after their bilateral meeting during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 15, 2017. PHOTO | AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Uhuru Kenyatta attend a signing ceremony after their bilateral meeting during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 15, 2017. PHOTO | AFP 

By NATION REPORTER
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A Chinese firm has signed multi-billion shilling deal with the Kenyan government for the construction of an industrial park at the Eldoret Special Economic Zone.

The Guangdong New South Group Ltd, signed the deal approximated to be about Sh200 billion in Beijing in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta in a private sector agreement.

The project titled Africa Economic Zones is being put up through a partnership between the Chinese firm and Kenya's Africa Economic Zones Ltd.

Africa Economic Zone (AEZ) is the first privately owned special economic Zone in Kenya.

The agreement is to develop and operate a high-end Special Economic Zone, with world-class infrastructure in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.

NATIONAL ECONOMY

The comparative advantage for setting up the Special Economic Zone in Eldoret lies in easy access to raw agricultural materials.

Consequently, AEZ will offer massive land space away from the hustle and bustle of over-populated cities.

President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Africa Economic Zones Ltd and Guangdong New South Group for their achievements to date saying he was impressed by the projected economic impact the project will have on both the local and national economy.

AEZ has been licensed in accordance with Special Economic Zones Act 2015.

In order to spur development, many African countries, Kenya included, have incorporated Special Economic zones as some of the vehicles that will take their industrialisation agenda forward.

CREATE JOBS

More African countries have started implementing this instrument for their industrialisation process, especially as a way of attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) mostly in the manufacturing sector, job creation, and export growth.

These countries are mostly looking to China, which has proven over the last three decades that industrialisation can create jobs and substantially reduce poverty.

Over 40,000 direct jobs are expected to be created for the youths within the region through the agreement and another 150,000 indirect jobs.

Improved infrastructure, resurgence of various economic activities around Eldoret, positioning it as an industrial and manufacturing hub is also expected from the investment deal.

The Economic Zone will be comprehensively designed and planned to provide an institutional framework, physical infrastructure and administrative services that will ensure a complete smooth operation to support the various economic activities within the Industrial park.

Once fully operational, production output is expected to reach $3 billion annually and grow exponentially.

The ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled for July 2017 with construction work expected to start shortly after.