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Bank to fund special economic zones

Afrexim Bank has signed a pact with the government to support the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

The deal will see the continental bank inject Sh. 3 billion towards the construction of Special Economic Zones in Mombasa, Naivasha, Machakos, and Kisumu.

According to the bank’s Managing Director (MD) in charge of intra-Africa trade, Dr. Gainmore Zenawe, the initiative targets to boost export-oriented investments to leverage the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

Through the partnership, he said the bank has put in place measures to identify flagship products to be produced at the SEZs.

“We are working with partners to identify what can be produced in the zones. We are going to work closely with farmers to ensure that we maximize production,” he said.

Agroprocessing, he added, was key to jumpstarting the zones, adding that relevant government agencies would be involved to kickstart the process.

In an interview with KNA, Dr. Zenawe said once each zone has been identified with unique products, the bank will support farmers to scale up production.

He added that the Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) has been roped into the program to secure markets for farmers.

“We are working with KNTC to network with the various farmers in the zones to secure markets and boost exports,” he said.

To meet the demand for quality, Dr. Zenawe said quality assurance centers will be conducted in Mombasa and Kisumu to ensure that the produce meets set international standards.

The investment in Kenya, he added, comes after similar successful projects in Togo and Benin, adding that other projects were lined up across the continent to promote intra-African trade.

He added that the focus was on sub-national governments, where the bulk of farmers are based, with programs developed to unlock funds to expand production.

By Chris Mahandara

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