10 July 2017

Kenya Launches Special Economic Zone Project

Eldoret — Kenya on Friday launched a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project that is expected to attract about 2 billion U.S. dollars of foreign investments.

At the ground-breaking ceremony, Deputy President William Ruto said the project is a joint venture between Kenyan-based company Africa Economic Zone and China's Guangdong New South Group.

Its Phase 1 consists of a 700-acre industrial park that will house firms from agro-processing, chemical and constructing sectors, according to Ruto.

The Phase 2 will target technology firms, while Phase 3 will focus on the hospitality sector. The project was made possible after the signing of an agreement between the Kenyan and Chinese firms in China during the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation.

Ruto said the project will enable Kenyan industrialists to benefit from the vast manufacturing experience that China has accumulated over the past 30 years.

He said that the Kenyan government has been considering establishing the SEZs for the past 15 years, but the facilities can now be licensed in the country following the enactment of the SEZ act in September 2015.

"Less than two years later after the law was passed, Kenya has been able to license the first private SEZ," he said.

The SEZ law lays the development framework that outlines the special tax incentives for industries that set up shop in the zones.

The deputy president noted that developed nations have utilized SEZs to improve the living standards of their citizens.

"We also intend to use the zones to expand job creation and wealth creation opportunities especially among the youth," he added.

Construction vehicles are seen at the launching ceremony of the Special Economic Zone project in Eldoret, Kenya, on July 7, 2017. Kenya on Friday launched a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project that is expected to attract about 2 billion U.S. dollars of foreign investments. The project is a joint venture between Kenyan-based company Africa Economic Zone and China's Guangdong New South Group.

- Xinhua/Pan Siwei

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