By Claire Wanja
A multi-billion-shilling industrial park is set to be constructed at Kenya’s Export Processing Zone (EPZ).
Two Chinese companies are investing Ksh20 billion ($200 million) in the Sino-African Incubation Park, which will be located in Athi River.
The investment, a joint venture between CIFAL International Ltd and China International Investment, will create 200,000 square-metres of industrial park inside the EPZ grounds occupying 60 acres of land.
Speaking during the launch on Sunday CIFAL International Managing Director Anna Tao said construction of the project will be undertaken by Qingjian International Group Ltd in four phases over the next three years. The initial phase will be an investment of an estimated $5 million (Ksh500 million) for a 500 square-metre promotion center and a 10,000m2 industry park.
The incubation park will support African companies in technology, manufacturing and production, and provide value-added services to help them export their products to global market. It will also have an entrepreneurial hub to support women and youth in setting up business.
“From investment, construction, operations, industrial incubator, trade platform services, equity investment and other projects, the Sino-African Incubation Park will be a solid bridge to connect Sino-African industries and introduce competitive edge of industries in Kenya,” said Anna Tao. “The incubation park will also support local industries with technology, product supply and other capacity building.”
Industry and Trade cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed, who presided over the groundbreaking, said the investment is a bold step by the Chinese, adding that they would enjoy full benefits of the EPZs with a higher return on investments. EPZA CEO Fanuel Kidenda said the Sh20 billion investment was a major boost to the economy and the EPZs, which so far have investments worth $730 million. According to EPZA, 130 companies are currently operating in 66 EPZs across the country and the Sino Africa industrial park would attract more investments.
Ms Tao said the park would provide a one-stop shop for business services such as exhibitions, offices, warehouses as well as public e-commerce office services. In the first phase, the park will launch industries in medical, chemical, cosmetics, foodstuff, machinery, building materials, agricultural products, office stationery, paper, textile, auto parts, shoes and hats, furniture and household appliances.
“This will be an integrated park with the functions of display, wholesale, distribution, logistics and warehousing,” she said. “It will also provide enterprises with supporting resources and services such as logistics and distribution, product or technology testing, catering staff meals, office supplies, marketing and advertising materials, communications and many more.”
The industrial park, she added, will also facilitate the transfer of manufacturing expertise from China to Kenya with the goal of creating “Made in Kenya” brands besides generating thousands of jobs for Kenyans.
“This will result in localised products with better quality and better prices and creation of new communication channels with successful Chinese/Kenyan enterprises in different industries,” he said.