Tatu City Hosts COMESA Delegation for Knowledge Exchange on Special Economic Zones
Tatu City Special Economic Zone, the 5,000-acre new city on Nairobi’s doorstep, hosted the Secretariat of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) for knowledge exchange at Tatu City, the first operational mixed-use Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the region.
Led by Lucas Mwago, Chief Trade Development Officer at Kenya’s Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry, the COMESA Secretariat delegation of trade and SEZ experts discussed design, taxation regulatory framework, infrastructure requirements, planning, and development.
Tatu City Executive Vice President Solomon Mahinda said, “There are very important lessons we have learned over time in Kenya, which we are glad to share with other COMESA member states with similar visions. The areas of market access and rules of origin are critical areas where we are keen to collaborate and facilitate knowledge-sharing opportunities with other African nations.”
Providence Mavumbi, Director of Industry & Agriculture Division-Zambia in the COMESA Secretariat, expressed enthusiasm about the learning opportunity, stating, “We are impressed by the level of planning, design, and execution of Tatu City’s mixed-use vision. Integrating residential, commercial, and recreational spaces sustainably and in an aesthetically pleasing way is commendable. As COMESA, we want to create and support a collaborative trading environment between member states. Special Economic Zones are critical to these efforts, and we are in the process of adopting the right policies to help member countries set up similar developments to promote trade and regional market access.”
“Our mission at Tatu City is to appreciate and learn from a team that has already established a functioning mixed-use SEZ,” said Mr. Mwago. “This is a great opportunity for governments to learn from the private sector, measure ourselves against a successful developer such as Tatu City, and see how we can expand SEZ developments in Kenya and other COMESA nations.”
Last year, Tatu City hosted Ugandan members of parliament for a learning tour on establishing mixed-use Special Economic Zones. More recently, Kenya’s Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry and the Council of Governors visited the city as the government looks to develop industrial parks and Special Economic Zoness in each of Kenya’s 47 counties.
Dozens of companies operate in Tatu City’s business-friendly location, including Kenya Wine Agencies Limited, Dormans, Copia, Cooper K-Brands, Grit Real Estate Income Group, Twiga Foods, CCI Global, Freight Forwarders Solutions, Friendship Group, Davis & Shirtliff. More than 3,000 homes and apartments are occupied or under construction at Unity Homes and the Kijani Ridge neighborhood.
Tatu City, a 5,000-acre new city development, is Kenya’s first operational mixed-use Special Economic Zone, a flagship Vision 2030 private sector development and a Special Planning Area (Gazette Notice 4975 of 7 June 2019).
Tatu City is a designated project of Strategic National Importance pursuant to The Physical and Land Use Planning (Classification of Strategic and Inter-County Projects) Regulations, 2019. Tatu City provides services such as data and voice communication, air transport, water storage and distribution, power distribution, and industrial facilities, which are classified as critical services by virtue of Gazette No.1042 of 31 January 2022. Rendeavour, the owner and developer of Tatu City, is building entirely new cities on more than 30,000 acres of land in the urban growth trajectories of major cities in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Currently at Tatu City mixed-use Special Economic Zones:
- 77 companies are operational or under development, representing over KES 200 billion of investment by groups from Kenya, the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, and South Africa, as well as the World Bank, British Investment International, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation;
- Six schools are open and educating over 4,500 students daily, including Crawford International School and Nova Pioneer Schools, where children of Kenyan and foreign diplomats study;
- More than 3,000 homes and apartments are occupied or under construction;
- 10,000 new jobs have been created;
- A water treatment plant supplies the entire city, supported by 15,000,000-litre water storage tanks;
- A 135MVA power substation and distribution infrastructure is operational; and
- The largest call center in Kenya will be completed in December 2023, creating 5,000 new jobs for Kenyan youth.