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Friday, January 20, 2017

Mombasa targets land bank to attract investors in the planned industrial parks

THE Mombasa County government is seeking to acquire about 3,000 acres in the North, South and West of Mombasa in a bid to woo international investors with a land bank.

County secretary Francis Thoya yesterday said they are targeting parcels of land around the proposed Dongo Kundu Special Economic zone, Miritini in the west and Mwakirunge in north side of the region.

He said the plan is to acquire land in in the anticipation of investors who will be looking for opportunities in the proposed investment park.

“We do not want a situation where when investors come calling, we start running around looking for land. We are required by law to have our own land bank,” he said.

He said the county will require at least Sh1 billion for the land bank.

“We have already embarked on the process and in the 2016/17 financial year, money will be set aside to start the acquisition process,” Thoya said.

In the first phase of the project, the county government will buy at least 1,200 acres of land.

The county has already advertised in the dailies for people who have idle land around this area to willingly sell to the county government, said Thoya.

He was speaking to the press at his office after signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on promoting of friendly exchanges between Mombasa County government and China’s Fuzhou municipality.

China sent to Kenya a 15-member delegation to formalise the agreement, which was part of negotiations between Mombasa governor Hassan Joho and Fuzhou municipality in 2014.

In the agreement, the two regions have agreed to foster bilateral trade and facilitate investments.

The China City of Fuzhou will under the arrangement facilitate partnerships between its investors and Kenyan firms in setting up industrial parks.

Mombasa's is heavily dependent on tourism and the port, but in recent years terrorist-related insecurity fears have hit hard the two sectors, hurting its economy in the process.

Thioya said the county is keen on setting up service industries and value addition companies around the proposed special economic zones and the industrial parks.

“We have been exporting many raw products but if we set up value addition industries here in Mombasa, we shall create employment and boost our economy,” he said.

For this arrangement to succeed, Thioya said, donor support, including from China, will be important.

Fuzhou's head of delegation Yang Yue said they are happy to be in Mombasa and finalise the journey that started in 2014.

“We pledge our support for the people of Mombasa,” he said.

The two-year agreement will also see China provide education scholarships for at least three residents to study in Fuzhou for a year.


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