The first special economic zone in Kenya, which is expected to attract investment worth Sh200 billion, will be launched on Friday in Uasin Gishu.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to preside over the ceremony to break the ground for the zone in Plateau, four kilometres from the Eldoret town centre.
The SEZ is to be spearheaded by a Chinese company, Guangdong New South Group, in partnership with a local firm, Africa Economic Zone, which has been licensed to operate the zone.
AEZ is part of the DL Group, founded by businessman David Lagat with interests in agribusiness, real estate and energy sectors, among others.
The deal for the development of the zone was signed by the government and the company in Beijing last May.
The project will be undertaken in three phases and is expected to be one of Africa’s tech hubs offering employment to the youth and propelling economic growth and development of Uasin Gishu and the country at large.
In phase one of the project, dubbed AEZ Pearl River, the Chinese firm will supervise the construction of an industrial park that will cover 700 acres. It will consist of various industries for the youth, agro-processing, energy, machinery, engineering, construction, electronic, ICT, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
Phase two will consist of a science and technology hub on an 86-acre piece of land. It will have a technology park and a campus with an IT hub and incubator to support ICT graduates to develop and commercialise new technology. It will also have a convention centre and also administrative, residential, recreational and green zones.
“The project is in close proximity to Eldoret International Airport and close to Eldoret central business district, besides being near the Mombasa-Malaba railway,” said a statement by AEZ.
The company will then construct an Olympia City that will cover 1,000 acres in the final phase. It will comprise a recreational zone with a stadium and golf course and a residential zone with three- and four-bedroom units.
Other features include schools and a civic centre with a social hall, public library, administration offices, public piazza, public square and a garden.
It will also comprise a wildlife conservancy, film industry, entertainment and tourism zones.
At least 18 international companies have signed up to set up industries in the zone so far.