With support from the International Finance Corporation, Kenya’s Special Economic Zones Authority has launched a one-stop-shop web portal to boost communication, transparency, and service provision for current and potential investors in special economic zones, a pillar of the country’s industrial policy.
The web portal will help the SEZ Authority adapt its investor outreach, retention, and after-care strategies to an interactive online platform, supporting investment, growth, and job creation in Kenya.
SEZs are demarcated areas with unique rules of business. They provide private firms with quality, cost-effective, reliable infrastructure, efficient customs services, regulatory predictability, and even fiscal incentives. Through SEZs, Kenya aims to boost competitiveness by ensuring regulatory and administrative predictability, quality industrial infrastructure, and market access.
At present, constraints to private sector competitiveness persist in Kenya, notably inadequate quality industrial infrastructure, complex and costly regulatory requirements, institutional coordination challenges, and sectoral constraints limiting value addition.
“Special Economic Zones are a key pillar for Kenya’s industrialisation agenda, value addition, and platform to leverage and catalyse private sector investment,” said the Hon. Betty Maina, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development. “We will work hand in hand with the SEZ Authority to boost the private sector’s contribution to GDP and scale-up investment generation, especially in manufacturing.”
“The portal is a repository that allows visitors to learn and interact in real-time with the Authority on cross-cutting issues. Also, it avails information regarding opportunities and incentives including investor road maps and facilities, available investment schemes and sectors, administrative and tax incentives,” said the Acting SEZ Authority CEO, Dr Meshack Kimeu.
“Strengthening investment in industrial infrastructure, such as special economic zones, is key to growing Kenya’s economy. IFC will continue to support Kenya to establish SEZs, and to facilitate investors’ access to essential infrastructure and simplified mechanisms for business registration and operation,” said Amena Arif, IFC Country Manager for Kenya.
Investors can also apply to lease land within the public SEZ parks once available for rent, sign up for news updates, subscribe to the SEZ Authority bulletin, access the resource centre, and make online applications through the portal.
The SEZ Authority will regularly update the website with statistics and analysis reports on the country’s socio-economic development and an investor’s roadmap with data on what is needed for starting a business in Kenya. It will also have a description of the current investment projects and the Kenya Government’s measures and incentives to support operating industries and new projects as soon as they are made available to the public.
The portal was developed with technical support from IFC’s Kenya Competitiveness Enhancement Programme. In Kenya and across the globe, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping catalyse new investments into SEZs by supporting formulation of legal, regulatory, and administrative environment for SEZs development, equipping governments with the tools to deliver SEZ regulatory oversight and investor facilitation.