Tatu City, Kenya’s first operational Special Economic Zone (SEZ), hosted the Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry, and County Governors for a briefing and tour of the 5,000-acre new city that has become a benchmark for mixed-use SEZs in Africa.
Located just 30 minutes from Central Nairobi, Tatu City has 77 businesses that are operational or under development, two schools – Crawford International and Nova Pioneer – which educate more than 3,000 students daily, thousands of apartments by Unity Homes, family residences in Kijani Ridge and the largest call center in Kenya, with 5,000 new jobs.
President William Ruto recently announced plans to put aside KES 100 million to create industrial parks and county aggregations in each county to hasten the creation of public-driven SEZs. Tatu City provided insights and experiences at the forum that would help the government achieve its goal of building agro-processing and value-added industries in the 47 counties to support regional economic growth and job opportunities.
“Tatu City is a good model of how County Governments can set up mixed-use industrial parks as Special Economic Zones,” said Hon. Moses Kuria, HSC, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Investments, Trade, and Industry.
“For County Governments to understand mixed-use industrial park aspects, we must start from Tatu City and Twiga Foods and envision how the industries and aggregation centers function. Kirinyaga County is in the process of having the Sagana Industrial City gazetted as an SEZ, which will be the first climate-smart agro-industrial city in the Central region,” said Her Excellency Ann Waiguru, the Governor of Kirinyaga County and the Chairperson of the Council of Governors.
“We are honored to be the pacesetters and job creators in this space, and today’s session with esteemed members of government is an opportunity to share ideas on how Kenya can continue to leverage its location and business environment to become a leading destination for foreign direct investment,” said Preston Mendenhall, Country Head, Rendeavour, the owner and developer of Tatu City and six other city scale projects in Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The delegation focused on the importance of mixed-use SEZs by visiting residential, commercial, and light industrial phases of the city:
- Twiga Foods, Copia, Cold Solutions, Sinotruk, Davis & Shirtliff, Dormans, Friendship Group, Mahesh & Tirth, Kenya Wine Agencies Limited, Freight Forwarders Solutions, and Grit Group were among the businesses profiled by the delegation.
- Eneo at Tatu Central, the commercial office development by Gateway Real Estate Africa, is anchored by CCI Global, the largest call center in East Africa, which has created 5,000 new jobs for young Kenyans.
- Unity Homes, is Kenya’s leading developer of inclusive housing communities, with more than 3,000 apartments completed or under development.
- The Tatu City SEZ One Stop Shop provides government services in a single location to SEZ businesses.
- Kijani Ridge, which features 650 fully serviced 1/4- and 1/2-acre plots.
Tatu City is a flagship Vision 2030 private sector development and a Special Planning area designated as a Strategic National Importance project pursuant to The Physical and Land Use Planning (Classification of Strategic and Inter-County projects) Regulations, 2019.
Business benefits at Tatu City SEZ include VAT zero-rating, import and stamp duty exemptions, and 10% corporate tax for the first 10 years and 15% for 10 years thereafter.