•Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone is being developed on a 3,000-acre land and will comprise a free port, industrial parks, free trade zones among other investments.
•Already, Taifa Gas Company and East African Tea Traders Association have broken ground at the Dongo Kundu SEZ.
Plans for the construction of the first multi-purpose berth to serve the Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zones in Mombasa is at an advanced stage, Kenya Ports Authority has said.
The project, to be developed under a Public–Private Partnership arrangement, is expected to cost at least $340 million (Sh55.4 billion).
The berth is a critical component of the wider Dondo Kundu SEZ, a Vision 2030 project aimed at development of a free trade zone, free port and industrial zones with a view to opening up the Coast and creating employment opportunities.
A Master Plan for the SEZ and free port in in place, developed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a key partner in development of projects at the Port of Mombasa.
According to KPA, the Dongo Kundu berth 1 will be 300 metres-long with a depth of minus 15 metres, which will allow it to hold large vessels.
The Dongo Kundu SEZ is being developed on a 3000-acre land and will comprise a free port, industrial parks, free trade zones, logistics and warehousing, energy project areas, tourism, and MICE among other developments.
“The SEZ will boost trade and spur economic growth through the expansion of manufacturing, growth of exports as well as positioning Kenya as a trade and logistics hub for the Eastern and Central Africa Region and beyond,” KPA management said.
Dongo Kundu is part of the government’s SEZs developments, including the Naivasha Special Economic Zones, Lamu SEZ and Kenani Leather Park in Athi River, aimed at boosting manufacturing and exports amid efforts to cut on imports.
Already, Taifa Gas Company and East African Tea Traders Association have broken ground at the Dongo Kundu SEZ.
The Tanzanian firm (Taifa) is putting up a Sh20.8 billion LPG facility with a capacity of 30,000 tonnes, in what is expected to shake-up the cooking gas industry in the country which has been dominated by a few individuals and multi-nationals.
The government is hoping Dongo Kundu will attract more investors as it pushes the Special Economic Zones initiative, with incentives to companies taking up space at the facilities.
For instance, 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, especially in relation to profit repatriation.
With a raft of tax and non-tax benefits, the government expects that not only will foreign investors be encouraged to invest in Kenya, but that local industry players will also be afforded an opportunity to competitively access international markets.
The government keen to fast-track development of the Dongo Kundu SEZ, with hopes industrial activities will up and running earlier than its initial timeline of 2026.
According to Special Economic Zone Authority CEO Kenneth Chelule, Kenya is open for business and there is huge potential for investors to invest through the special economic zones.
“In the last year, President William Ruto has personally championed and mainstreamed the Special Economic Zone Programme. We have begun to see an influx of investment. I envisage a future in which we will need to build more zones to accommodate investors flocking to Kenya," Chelule said.
The process of getting a licence to operate in an SEZ has been simplified, he said, with procedural, administrative and fiscal incentives being enhanced.
“The idea is to attract many quality investors who can create as many opportunities,” Chelule said.