Construction of the first ever private special economic zone in the country is expected to kick off following the signing of a multi-billion shilling deal between the government and a Chinese firm.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to preside over the ground breaking ceremony of a Sh200 billion industrial park by Guangdong New South Group Ltd tomorrow at Plateau, some four kilometres from Eldoret town.
The business partnership deal was signed by the government in Beijing in May after Africa Economic Zone (AEZ) was licensed to operate as a special economic zone.
The company is part of the DL Group of Companies founded by businessman David Lagat with interests in agribusiness, real estate and energy, among others.
The project will be undertaken in three phases and will drive economic growth, development in Uasin Gishu County and the country at large, and employ youth. In phase one of the project — dubbed AEZ Pearl River — Guangdong New South Group Ltd, will supervise the construction of an industrial park on 700 acres.
It will consist of various industries including agro-processing, energy, machinery, engineering, construction, electronic, ICT, chemical and pharmaceuticals.
Phase two will consist of a science and technology hub sitting on a 86 acres.
It will have a technology park, a university, an IT hub and an incubator to support ICT graduates to develop and commercialise new technology. It will further consist of a convention centre, an administrative, residential, recreational and green zones.
“The project is in close proximity to Eldoret International Airport and close to Eldoret’s central business district as well the Mombasa-Malaba railway,” said a statement by AEZ.
Guangdong New South Group is expected to build an Olympia City on 1,000 acres in phase three of the project.
It will comprise of a recreational zone with a stadium and golf course as well as residential homes comprising of three and four bedroom units.
Other features include an administration zone, schools and a social hall, a public library, administration offices, a public square, and gardens.
A wildlife conservancy, film industry, entertainment and tourism are some of the zones in the multi-billion project.
Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago said the project will connect the county with investments in the North Economic Block (NOREB) which brings together seven counties in the agriculturally rich region.
“The county government is determined to create an investment environment for investors in the region and Eldoret town will grow to a world-class economy with this special economic zone serving the country and east, and central Africa and the Horn of Africa,” said Mr Mandago.
He said the project will offer employment opportunities to locals and improve infrastructure in the next two years.
Eldoret town has comparative advantage for setting up a special economic zone as it is strategic in providing access to other towns in the country, other countries in eastern Africa and easy access to raw agriculture materials
More than 18 international companies have already signed up to set up industries on the site, while others have expressed interest in the economic zone.