• EPZ has increased to more than 11.8% its contribution to Kenya’s total exports.
• Employment accounted for 18.5 per cent last year, an increase from 18% in 2017.
The Exports Processing Zones Authority plans to double its contribution to the economy by creating 60,000 more jobs through new investments.
Authority chairman Paul Gicheru says of the EPZ's contribution to the manufacturing sector, employment accounted for 18.5 per cent last year, an increase from 18 per cent in 2017.
EPZs also have increased their contributions to total exports to more than 1.8 per centGicheru says the forecast for the EPZA performance is brighter.
Appointed last year to head the EPZA board, Gicheru has instituted far-reaching reforms at the Athi River headquarters to eliminate corruption and make business easier. It is targeting more investors in the textiles and other sectors.
Since he took over, investor confidence in EPZA zones has increased and foreign embassies and donors have made more enquiries about investment.
“Kenya is a country with great potential to attract investors and grow the economy fast so we create more jobs for our youth,” Gicheru said.
“The President has been very keen on the EPZA and as a board, we are ensuring we implement his advice on attracting more investors and creating jobs," he said.
He is focusing on ensuring efficiency, transparency and accountability in EPZA operations to attract more investors.
Gicheru spoke when he met with representatives from the Dutch Flower Group led by CEO Marco Van Zijverden. They discussed investments in the country.
Zijverden said they were impressed with the Gichru's leadership of the EPZA programme.
“We are discussing how best we can partner in investments," the CEO said.
Gichrusaid they would partner with counties to open up other EPZ zones. He said they were working closely with governors Wycliffe Oparanya of Kakamega and Wilbur Otichilo of Vihiga to revive EPZ operations.
(Edited by R.Wamochie)