Trade, Investments and Industry Cabinet Secretary (CS) Moses Kuria has said plans to put up Sh.39 billion Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Mombasa was underway to accelerate and diversify economic growth at the coastal city.
Speaking at the Kenya Ports Authority headquarters in Mombasa, Kuria said preparations to launch the SEZ were at an advanced stage to ensure that the envisaged industrial and logistical hub in the port city of Mombasa was a reality.
He said the Dongo Kundu SEZ’s main objective was to improve the country’s trade imbalance, investments, job creation and effective administration.
SEZs are geographically delimited areas within which governments promote industrial activity through fiscal and regulatory incentives and infrastructure support. They go by many different names, including free-trade zones and industrial parks.
“There is a need for the government to take deliberate steps in developing reliable infrastructure to facilitate investors to make long-term investment plans,” he said.
Accompanied by Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Sharif Nassir, Principal Secretaries (PSs) Abubakar Hassan Abubakar (State Department for Investment and Promotion) and Alex Wachira (State Department of Energy), Kuria said the SEZ will be developed on 3,000 acres of land.
Kuria said the project that will be a game changer for growth in the region will have a free port, free trade zone, industrial park, logistics zone and public utility area with a 12-kilometer supporting road network.
“We are currently working to float a tender for land development in the local and international media to attract investments, hopefully, the tenders will be issued within one or two weeks and the work will start on 31st March 2023,” he said during a press briefing.
“The Special Economic Zone Development project at Dongo Kundu is one of the Vision 2030 flagship projects in the region,” he noted.
He said they will advertise for expression of interest to attract investments in key sectors of the economy such as agro-processing industries, oil and gas, petrochemical industries, green energy and renewables, blue economy and water desalination and service provision.
Others are heavy metal and steel, cotton, textile and apparel, pharmaceuticals, automobile industry, transport and freight logistics services, warehousing, cargo bulk-breaking and consolidation services and business support services.
The Trade CS added that the special economic zone is expected to be operationalized with effect from July 2023 noting that infrastructure is the bedrock of socio-economic development in any Country and that is what this mega upcoming project exemplifies.
He revealed that KPA has set aside Sh.1.4 billion to compensate persons who will be displaced by the mega project.
He added that the resettlement and compensation process will be spearhead by the National Government Administration Officers under the stewardship of the Coast Regional Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha.
Governor Nassir welcomed renewed efforts to kick start the project saying it will address unemployment in the coastal city and other neighbouring coastal counties.
The Mombasa County boss said SEZs need national government support from strategy to implementation while working closely with other relevant stakeholders including public and private-sector players.
Onyancha assured the residents that the resettlement and compensation of 1,582 project affected persons will be done above board.
By Mohamed Hassan/Shamim Musa