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Garden City Mall owners defend use of aid cash

Garden City Mall which opened its doors to the public for the first time on May 28, is said to be the largest first integrated residential, retail and office development in East Africa. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU
Garden City Mall which opened its doors to the public for the first time on May 28, is said to be the largest first integrated residential, retail and office development in East Africa. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

Garden City Mall’s owners defended its use of aid money to build a flashy shopping complex as buyers rushed for bargains offered by Nakumatt and Game supermarkets, which opened on Thursday.

A report by UK’s Guardian newspaper claimed that CDC, which jointly with Actis has invested nearly Sh2.5 billion ($25 million) in Garden City Mall, had diverted cash from British aid funds meant for the poor.

CDC is owned by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) with a mandate to “end extreme poverty.”

“Responsible commercial initiatives create employment and attract new foreign investment, which builds a more sustainable economic future for Kenya. Garden City Phase one has already created over 1,800 jobs in Nairobi. Many more will follow in subsequent phases, both in construction and during the operation of the mall.

The project has not been funded by grant aid, but has received commercial backing from development finance institutions that invest to create jobs, ” said a spokesperson for Garden City.

Nakumatt and Game have slashed prices by up to 50 per cent in a bid to lure shoppers who spent the better part yesterday queueing to pay for their items.

This signalled the competition that is expected to exist between the two retailers.

Nakumatt Holdings managing director Atul Shah said the competition was bound to create an ‘exciting’ time for consumers.

“We’re excited to open up here, there are new entrants and it is becoming a big market, which is a good thing,” he told the Business Daily. Game is opening its first store in Kenya.

The retailer is a subsidiary of Massmart, a South African company.

George Macharia, a shopper who bought handy tools including a Black and Decker wood drill said that he was excited to shop at Game and had taken advantage of the offer to buy the drill. He bought it for Sh2,200 while elsewhere it costs Sh8,000, he said.

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