What you need to know:
- EPZA also seeking to optimise land use and has issued a 90-day lease termination notice on 68 undeveloped plots.
- The EPZ management has promised investors constant fresh water supply within the Zone to ensure seamless operations.
The Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) is targeting to create at least 37,361 new jobs in an ambitious expansion plan.
Between August 2022 to August 2023, EPZA registered and facilitated 52 new projects with a capital outlay of Sh28.33 billion targeting 33,931 jobs for Kenyans.
The apparel and Agro-processing sectors are expected to create the lion’s share of the job opportunities at 9,384 and 4,822 workers respectively once the projects are fully implemented. Some of the projects are already in operation with others in advanced stages towards the opening.
Other sectors that are targeted in the growth plans include construction with 13 new projects, pharmaceuticals, plastics, business process outsourcing, fisheries, wooden joinery, warehousing and packaging. Nine companies approved last month are expected to create 3,430 new jobs.
EPZA Chief Executive Officer Hussein Adan Mohamed told Nation, the EPZ programme has also attracted 13 investments either wholly UK-owned or joint ventures engaged in agro–processing, dartboards, chemicals, commercial crafts and film services. The new workforce will add up to the current 17,000 human capital within EPZA.
"During a visit to EPZ Athi River last week, UK Prime Minister Trade Envoy to Kenya, Theo Clarke said the UK was seeking more opportunities for British companies keen on setting up in Kenya. We are also tapping more into the global market in China, USA and India," said Mr Mohamed, who has been at the helm of EPZA leadership for a year now.
He added that EPZA is seeking to expand its market territory beyond the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) market, especially on apparels.
At the same time, the EPZA is seeking to optimise land use and has issued a 90-day lease termination notice on 68 undeveloped plots measuring 88.15 hectares in Athi River.
"EPZ land is meant for manufacturing. We will not allow investors holding on to land for years after they were allocated the land. We have dozens of both local and international seeking space to set up factories,“ said Mr Mohamed, adding that the authority is seeking to fully utilize the land fully by 2024.
The EPZ management has promised investors constant fresh water supply within the Zone to ensure seamless operations.
"We know water is a major facet of manufacturing. We have put a system in place to ensure constant water supply within the zone," added Mr Mohamed.
In April, Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria said the government was seeking more investors to create at least four million jobs annually.
The government through private public partnership (PPP) was to roll out a Sh3.7 billion inclusive taxes project that will see the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) link to Athi River Export Processing Zone to ease transportation of appeals to the global market.
The mega-project will have the SGR railway line extended to the Zone offering a railway sliding, lobby to accommodate 10 trucks, a 450 sqm go-down alongside two-storey office block and a parking lot for 30 small vehicles.
The project which is expected to take 24 months to complete will act as an enticement for both local and international investors. Two cargo trains will be available to transport raw materials and finished goods to Mombasa.