Business park opens doors to other firms as BPOs fail to lift

A slow pick in the local business process outsourcing sector has forced Sameer Africa Limited to reassign about half of its business park space earlier committed to the sector to other tenants.

About half of the 260,000 square feet business park on Mombasa road in Nairobi, which has been under the Export Processing Zones, will now be taken up by other tenants.

Announcing the new decision during the company’s 43rd annual general meeting held last week at the premises, Sameer Limited chairman engineer Erastus Mwongera confirmed that the space reallocation has been necessitated by a slower off-take than expected from the EPZ.

“The decision was necessitated by the continuing slow off-take of the Export Processing Zone- designated premises in the country, and a pressing need for us to maximize on land assets use,” he said.

Mr Mwongera confirmed that part of the space that was previously taken up by a foreign investor has now been taken up by the Naivas Supermarket.

The government had in 2010 offered to rent all the space in Sameer Business park for up to Sh2 billion to incubate BPOs.

However, the park has remained empty possibly costing the company a lot of in terms of land assets use. The sector was identified as one of the pillars of the country’s Vision 2030 blueprint.

If successful, the sector would have helped a lot in boosting economic growth for the country, especially because of the current high levels of unemployment.

Promotion of the sector was one of the core mandates of the Kenya ICT Board during its constitution in 2007.

However, despite enormous achievement in other sectors of the industry, not much progress has been made in developing the BPO sub-sector.

Last month, Information and Communications PS Bitange Ndemo announced a change in the country’s strategy for the sub-sector, saying to first deal with internal efficiencies and human resource capacity development.