Chinese, Kenyan firms partner to build 'friendship city' in Nairobi

Damei Investment of China and Kenya's Zuri Group Global announced on Wednesday that they will partner to build a "friendship city" in the east African nation.

Jiannan Bao, director of Damei Investment, told Xinhua in Nairobi that construction of the proposed "friendship city," which will be located in the outskirts of capital city Nairobi, will begin before the end of 2019.

Bobby Kamani, managing director of Zuri Group Global, said that the "friendship city" is a comprehensive Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and Township, covering an area of 1,200 acres with five separate functional parks. 

The project will lead to an initial foreign direct investment into Kenya of about 200 billion shilling (2 billion U.S. dollars), with a potential of up to 7.5 billion dollars by the time the entire development is complete, Kamani told the Wuxi-Kenya Business Forum.

The forum was organized by International Trade Center's Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa and the Kenya Investment Authority, and co-organized by Jiangsu Business Development Association Kenya.

Business people from Wuxi city, in southern China's Jiangsu Province, who are seeking investment opportunities in Kenya, attended the gathering. 

 Kamani said the "friendship city" could potentially create 150,000 jobs directly and 500,000 jobs indirectly. He noted the major selling point of SEZs in Kenya is the tax shields offered within the confines of an SEZ. "Licensed SEZ enterprises, developers and operators benefit from various tax rebates such as exemption from excise duty, customs duty, value added tax and stamp duty, advantageous corporate income tax rates and preferential withholding tax rates," Kamani said.

With a raft of tax and non-tax benefits, he said, it is expected that the SEZ will not only attract foreign investors such as those from China, but also lure local industry players who will be afforded an opportunity to competitively access international markets.