President Uhuru Kenyatta Friday presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the establishment of Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone in Mombasa County.
The Dongo Kundu SEZ in Likoni, Mombasa, which is designed to be a multi-sectoral zone comprises of Industrial Parks, Free Trade Zones/Free Port, Dongo Kundu Port, Tourism Zone (MICE), Business Service Parks; and Commercial and Residential Zone.
The SEZ will be developed in three phases with the first phase expected to be ready by 2023 and is projected to inject into the Kenyan economy Shs 400 billion in local and foreign direct investments and create more than 100,000 jobs.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, the President Kenyatta said the Dongo Kundu SEZ will herald a milestone transformation in the coastal region and will further promote the “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya” philosophy.
He said the establishment of special economic zones will see Kenya become self sufficient in industrial goods that currently consume most of the country’s foreign exchange.
“For a long time the country has depended on imported goods hence developing other parts of the world,” President Kenyatta said.
The President cautioned leaders against divisive politics saying the biggest concern for Kenyans was the creation of jobs and service delivery.
The Head of State challenged local manufacturers and traders to leverage on the improving business environment in the country to maximise production of goods especially for export markets so as to create jobs.
He said the Dongo Kundu SEZ will create direct jobs for more than 100,000 people and is expected to not only transform the economy of the coast region but that of the whole country and the region.
The President said his administration has fashioned a rich mix of policies and infrastructure to encourage investors to set up businesses in the SEZs including tax incentives for all licensed Special Economic Zones entities.
At the same time, the President directed line ministries to hasten compensation for those affected by the project and to complete the exercise by November this year.
The Head of State assured the affected persons that the resettlement will be carried out in a humane manner and that all people affected by the exercise will be catered for.
The Dongo Kundu SEZ is designed to support the development of the blue economy and is primed to host mega factories that will add value to Kenyan raw materials, including cash crops, fruits and vegetables.
The President who was accompanied by a host of Coast leaders led by Governors Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Salim Mvurya (Kwale) also launched the construction of the second phase of the Dongo Kundu Bypass that will connect the South Coast to the island.
The second phase of the Dongo Kundu Bypass will include the construction of the Mteza-Kibundani section, Miritini-Mwache-Kipevu road and Moi International Airport Access Road; and Mwache Junction-Tsunza-Mteza section.
The first phase of the now iconic Dongo Kundu Bypass has already transformed Mombasa and eased transport to and from the coastal city.
Governors Joho and Mvurya lauded the President for the various major development projects being implemented at the Coast and pledged their continued firm support for the National Government’s development agenda.
Earlier in the day the President presided over several functions including the launch of a new Toyota Hilux assembly line in Miritini Mombasa and the roll out of the national HPV vaccination campaign program to protect women against cervical cancer.
The President started his packed day by awarding a University Charter to Umma University at a ceremony held at State House, Mombasa.