Kajiado County targets to grow its economy tenfold helped by local and foreign investors’ pledge to invest billions of shilling in Kenya’s richest devolved unit.
One of the most notable investors at last week’s investment forum was US-based Four Seasons Wind Power Company seeking to establish a green energy plant at a cost of $4.5 billion (Sh382 billion) to supply more than 200 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.
Kajiado is strategically located near Nairobi where demand for electricity is high and on the planned high-voltage Kenya Electricity Transmission Company lines linking Kenya to Tanzania.
“We are here seeking to establish a wind energy plant worth $4.5 billion in this county and in fact we have a blank check for the same,” said Four Seasons Wind Power Kenya’s representative George Kimani.
The county that investors noted was the same size as Rwanda is gearing up to overtake the country, which has been listed among the best in terms of economic growth in Africa.
“Tracking what most investors have said — and those who have agreed to settle in this county — indicates huge investments worth billions will be made here,” said Governor David Nkedianye at the close of the two-day investment forum last Friday.
Most investors were interested in alternative energy, real estate, cement and industrial parks, among other sectors.
Dr Nkedianye said that the county government would ease its investment regulations by opening a one-stop shop to aid investors settle in the county within the shortest time possible.
“We know that for investors to settle in Kenya, it has not been an easy task but our county already has plans to open up a one stop-shop that will enable the investors settle here with ease,” said the governor.
He said that county had taken measures to eliminate bottlenecks that have for years adversely affected investment in the county.
County’s Trade minister Florence Ndunge viewed the first investor forum as successful.
“We are yet to take the stock of all the potential foreign investors interested in the county among them four companies from India, three from China, two from US and others from various parts of the world,” said Ms Ndunge.
East African Portland Cement Company managing director Kepher Tande said that the company plans to build a $200 million (Sh17 billion) cement plant in Ilbisil area that would create many employment opportunities.
“Our feasibility study on establishing a clinker factory is almost through and we estimate the plant will cost $200 million,” said Mr Tande.
Apart from a few steel and agro-processing firms, Kajiado County which is located along the Athi River-Namanga highway into Tanzania has few other industries. Instead it is largely a dormitory town for Nairobi with some of the fastest growing towns like Kitengela, Ongata Rongai, Kiserian, Isinya and Ngong.
Kenya Investment Authority’s Kelvin Mutuko said: “County governments must take advantage of the foreign investors. It is for this reason that we are working with county governments to develop investments plan to woo investors.”
Mr Mutuko lauded the Kajiado County for hosting the investor forum. He said that investments were crucial for Kenya’s economy to grow at 10 per cent.