Sh200bn Uasin Gishu project promises to create 40,000 jobs, address poverty

economic zone

Deputy President William Ruto (fourth left) launches the ground breaking ceremony for construction of Africa Economic Zone Pearl River in Uasin Gishu County on July 7, 2017. The project will help in creating jobs. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

A Sh200 billion special economic zone was on Friday launched in Uasin Gishu County with a promise to create more than 40,000 jobs.

The Africa Economic Zone Pearl River is located in Plateau, Kesses sub-county, and is the first to be established under the Special Economic Zones Act, 2015.

The zone is spearheaded by a Chinese company, the Guangdong New South Group, in partnership with a local firm, Africa Economic Zone (AEZ).

READ: Set up special zones to lure more global companies, urge investors

Deputy President William Ruto represented President Uhuru Kenyatta who had been slated to preside over the groundbreaking ceremony.

Mr Ruto praised the project as one of the key investments brought about by a law developed by the Jubilee administration.

READ: China firm to build Sh200bn industrial park in Uasin Gishu

“This investment will help to improve the returns of farmers and create jobs for our youth. This is how we are going to deal with poverty and unemployment,” he said.

The DP also said it was important for Kenyans to mark Saba Saba Day with the launch of mega projects like the special zone, adding that it would show the country had moved on from its past challenges.

“It is important to remind ourselves not to celebrate violence, disunity and things that take us backward.

"It is significant that we use this Saba Saba to show the future generations that the challenges our country faces can be sorted out,” he said.

Zone creator
With 30 days to the General Election, he asked fellow politicians not to create tension and anxiety among their supporters, saying the days of dishonouring the democratic will of voters were long gone.

He said the Jubilee Party would accept the will of the people.

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The Africa Economic Zone is the brainchild of DL Group Companies chairman David Lagat.

On Friday, Mr Lagat said it had taken three years for him to convince the Chinese to spearhead the investments.

The project will be undertaken in three phases and is expected to be one of Africa’s tech hub offering employment and propelling economic growth and development of Uasin Gishu County and the country at large.

In the first phase of the project dubbed AEZ Pearl River, the Chinese firm will supervise the construction of an industrial park that will cover 700 acres.

It will consist of various industries in agro-processing, energy, machinery, engineering, construction, electronic, ICT, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors.
The second phase will consist of a science and technology hub on an 86-acre piece of land.

“This is going to be one of the most transformational projects in Kenya’s history,” Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Aden Mohammed said.