YARDSTICK

Uganda uses Tatu City as Special Economic Zone benchmark

Parliamentary Budget Committee MPs tour site.

In Summary

•The Ugandan delegation stated that the country is in the process of operationalising laws and policies to guide the development of SEZs.

•Tatu City is a 5,000-acre mixed-use development, a flagship project of the Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint. 

Uganda MPs during a tour of Tatu City/HANDOUT
Uganda MPs during a tour of Tatu City/HANDOUT

The Uganda Parliament is targeting to use Tatu City, in Kenya, as a benchmark for the  implementation of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the neighbouring country.

MPs from the country's Parliamentary Budget Committee this week toured the 5,000 acres SEZ located 16 kilometres North of Nairobi, in Kiambu County.

It sits within the greater Nairobi Metropolitan region and is a flagship project of the Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint. 

 The Ugandan delegation, led by the Committee's deputy Chairman, Ignatius Wamakuyu, stated that the country is in the process of operationalising laws and policies to guide the development of SEZs.

This is in recognition of the important role they play in job creation and GDP growth.

During the tour, Wamakuyu said: "We came to see and understand the policies, legal framework, and other operational manuals for Special Economic Zones."

The team met different players in Kenya.

It is expected to generate a report that will be discussed in the country's  National Assembly, together with recommendations to the Executive to initiate such developments.

"The Ugandan government has implemented a hybrid model with a few industrial parks but is now looking to expand these into full-fledged SEZs,"Wamakuyu said.

He noted that Uganda is endowed with different raw material and minerals, which will be exploited once such facilities (SEZs) are established in the country.

Uganda also has a large population of young people (more than 51 per cent) who will benefit greatly from such facilities, he added.

"We have seen how the government can step in to invest in infrastructure for the benefit of the country," Wamakuyu said.

Tatu City, Kenya's first fully operationalized SEZ, currently hosts more than a dozen SEZ enterprises, with dozens of additional companies in the process of establishing operations.

Over 5,000 jobs have been created at Tatu City so far, with an additional 10,000 expected in the next 14 months as more businesses establish themselves.

To date, Tatu City has welcomed more than 70 companies to its business-friendly location, including Dormans, Copia, Cooper K-Brands, Maxxam, Twiga Foods, and Freight Forwarders Solutions, Friendship Group, Davis & Shirtliff and Kenya Wine Agencies Limited.

Speaking at the event, Tatu City’s director of industrial operations Tito Oduk said: “We have several businesses at Tatu City which have operations in Uganda or trade with Uganda, which shows that we are all inter-connected.”

The Uganda delegation of nine MPs also visited the government-managed SEZ, Konza Technopolis.

Tatu City comprises mixed-use development with homes, schools, offices, a shopping district, medical clinics, nature areas, a sport and entertainment complex, and manufacturing area for more than 250,000 residents and tens of thousands of day visitors.

Schools and businesses are open at Tatu City, and a range of homes suit all incomes.

Tatu City in Ruiru, Kiambu county.
Tatu City in Ruiru, Kiambu county.
Image: John Kamau
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