China to put up Sh65bn ‘Dubai’ in Machakos

Saturday April 5 2014

Photo/Courtesy  An artist’s impression of the proposed Kenya-China Economic Zone in Machakos.

Photo/Courtesy An artist’s impression of the proposed Kenya-China Economic Zone in Machakos. 

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Chinese investors are planning to unveil a Sh65 billion city near Nairobi with skyscrapers and infrastructure that they say will match the splendour of Dubai.

The grand plan that involves at least 100 Asian investors is being fine-tuned ahead of an anticipated visit to Kenya by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang early next month; actual construction may begin later in the year.

The premier is also expected to tour Nigeria, Angola and Ethiopia in what is seen as an attempt to further strengthen the relationship between China and Africa.  

The project to be developed on land in Athi River, Machakos County — about 30km from Nairobi — is styled as a Chinese-controlled economic zone that will host corporates from the Asian giant and serve as its hub for Eastern Africa.

A design by Chinese architects the Sunday Nation has seen proposes the building of at least 20 skyscrapers. Those familiar with the project say it is meant to match the glamour of Dubai and is also expected to be a shopping destination that stocks Chinese and other global products. 

Representatives from some Chinese corporates involved were in Kenya last week and held talks with key stakeholders in government to lay strategy for the project.

Mr Qiu Yan of Multi-Win Holding Ltd said that once completed the project had the potential to create 200,000 jobs.

Mr Yan added that a conference planned later this month in Nairobi would attract more Chinese investors interested in the initiative that is expected to change the face of Athi River. Other key individuals involved include Mr Guo Dong and Prof Luo Ming.

Those behind the project known as Kenya-China Economic Zone are said to have acquired land from a flower company. However, we could not immediately establish how long the “new city” will take to complete. It is also unclear how it will coexist with the proposed Konza Techno City and Machakos City launched by Governor Alfred Mutua, proposed in the same area.

The Director of External Communications at State House, Mr Munyori Buku, said he was aware of the proposed project which would push the government’s plan to turn around the country’s economic prospects and help achieve Vision 2030.

“Such projects are a clear manifestation of the Jubilee administration’s plan to take the Vision 2030 to the next level,” Mr Buku said.

Officials at the Chinese embassy in Nairobi could not give details of the impending State visit or the proposed project.