Mombasa has moved closer to becoming a free trade zone following a Cabinet approval on Thursday. This sets the stage for the Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development to roll the country's first free trade area, with a view to wresting some of the traffic in places such as Dubai in the Emirates.
Kenya - a net importer - will be eyeing the East, Central and Southern Africa regions to splurge their cash in Mombasa with economic incentives such as zero duty. This is the country's first significant step towards boosting trade volumes while relatively reducing the import bill.
"The envisioned Free Trade Zone will enable goods to enter into the zone duty-free, where traders from Kenya and the region can purchase them without having to travel to traditional destinations like Dubai, China and Japan," State House said in a statement.
Mombasa is expected to begin operations as a free port with trade focusing on motor vehicles, household goods and construction materials. It is anticipated to create a significant number of new jobs.
Free trade zones will be created by the Special Economic Zones Act once enforced to repeal the Export Processing Zones law.