President Uhuru Kenyatta seized the opportunity of the inauguration ceremony of the two-day Kenya International Investment Conference (KIICO) to urge local and foreign investors to take advantage of the multiple reforms made by the government. He said Kenya is the “ideal location” for those planning to venture into the regional economic blocks of the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The improvement of road infrastructure, increment of electricity production capacity to more than 5000MW by 2017 with geothermal power generation and a “standard gauge railway flagship project that will initially link Mombasa to Nairobi before connecting the entire East Africa region” are among the efforts of the country to attract international investors.
Uhuru said Kenya needs “partnership from the private sector to achieve the 5000MW target and this is why we have invited potential investors to sign up power purchase agreements.”
The president also told investors, private sector organizations, development partners, financial institutions, industry leaders and county governments present at the conference that there are ongoing plans for a free trade area between EAC, COMESA and SADC that will create a market of 600 million people. He added that Kenya will be “an ideal location” for this move which gears towards regional integration.
In order to satisfy the delegates demand for the reduction of the 20% limit on the volume of goods manufactured within Export Processing Zones (EPZs), which can be sold in the local market, the President stated that the parliament has prepared a legislation to establish Special Economic Zones to bypass this restriction. The 20% limit is a commitment to the EAC protocol which cannot be ignored by the EPZs.