An ultra-modern mall in honour of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is set to be built in Nyeri County.
This follows a ground breaking ceremony that was held Saturday in Nyeri town.
The event was officiated by the East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Principal Secretary Mr Ibrahim Mohamed.
The mall to be known as ‘Madiba Mall’ is a project initiated and supported by the Cocorico Investments limited.
Speaking at the function, the Chief Executive, Cocorico Investments Limited Mr Githinji Kinyanjui said the mall which is approximated to cost close to Sh700 million will attract various investors.
He said the mall will enable people to get all the goods and services they need under one roof.
“This will be a place where residents and visitors will access all the facilities they need. You will only notice you are in Nyeri once you step outside the mall,” he said.
Mr Kinyanjui said the mall is set to be completed within the next 18 months and will give many entrepreneurs a chance to invest.
He said the name ‘Madiba Mall’ will have an international appeal as people remember the late global icon Nelson Mandela.
He said the mall is one of the things that will ensure devolution is realised at the county level.
He added that there are plans to open similar outlets in other counties.
Speaking on behalf of Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Phyllis Kandie, the Principal Secretary Mr Mohamed said the mall will be a landmark building in the county which will be a game changer to the shopping culture of the people in this region.
Mr Mohamed said the process of constructing the mall will challenge other county governments and investors in the country and beyond.
“We have a new level of investment and commercial frontier that awaits exploitation,” he said.
He said such opportunities offer genuine chances for those who are willing to venture in emerging vibrant economies.
He noted that the project is a major boost to the retail footprint in Kenya.
Restaurants, hotels, banks, beauty parlours, tour companies, dry cleaners, fashion stores and other products will be available at the facility, he added.
Mr Mohamed stated that the ultra-modern mall concept will enable people to shop with dignity in a clean, decent environment.
He said the process of devolution will be enhanced through such initiatives.
“Today, we are devolving the mega mall, tomorrow let us devolve manufacturing and thereafter telecommunications with a view to taking opportunities to the villages,” he said.
The Deputy Governor of Nyeri County Wamathai Githaiga noted the county government was willing to support the investors of the project.
Mr Githaiga said the mall initiative was a result of the Nyeri County Investors Conference which took place on November 2013.
He said during the investors conference many investors participated in the Expressions of Interest which translated into Sh60 billion investment projects.
He said Nyeri County was favourable for investments and was a major tourism hub owing to its proximity to Mt Kenya and the Aberdares.
He pointed out the graveyard of the founding father of the Scouts movement Baden Powell as one of the tourism attractions.
Uchumi Managing Director Mr Jonathan Ciano said the mall will offer a chance to create employment opportunities to many people.
Several members of parliament from Nyeri County and other government officials graced the occasion.
The mall will have a capacity to offer employment to close to 1000 people directly and thrice the number indirectly.
It will have a parking capacity of 200 vehicles and Uchumi Supermarket will occupy the ground floor and part of the first floor sharing it with Ecobank.
The second floor will have shops and a food court while the third will have conference facilities and a 4 star hotel while a swimming will be located at the top floor.