The government plans to roll out multi-billion-shilling infrastructure projects to help woo investors to the planned Machakos and Konza cities.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Friday that the government would expand the Athi River-Machakos Road, lay a high-speed rail line connecting it to Nairobi and build a one-stop shop in Machakos for provision of e-government services.
The foundation is meant to make it easier for investors to access the proposed Machakos city and create an enabling environment for investment by reducing the cost of setting up and doing business in the proposed 2,200-acre urban development.
The master plan for the ambitious metropolis features special economic zones, research and learning institutions, golf and leisure parks, high-density housing complexes and shopping malls.
“We will soon be tendering for the dualling of Mombasa highway from Athi River all the way to Konza and Machakos so as to speed up transportation of goods and people between Nairobi and Machakos,” Mr Kenyatta said at the launch of the new Machakos city.
“We are also planning to expand the railway line for passengers all the way to Machakos.”
This endorsement is a huge boost for Machakos governor Alfred Mutua who had been accused by Agriculture secretary Felix Koskei of encroaching on land earmarked for the project that is also opposed by the area’s senator Johnstone Muthama.
Mr Mutua said he wants to position the county to be Kenya’s premier hub for business, industries, leisure and residential living. “We want to make Machakos the place to be. We are now ready to issue free land to investors.”
The ceremony was attended by investors from over 15 countries eyeing opportunities in different sectors such as real estate, health, education and agriculture.
Emaar Properties, the Dubai-based real estate firm that developed Dubai Mall and the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, has expressed interest to invest in the city.
Coppe Health Care Solutions, an American firm based in Wisconsin, also plans to launch operations in the new city to supply the region with medical equipment and health IT systems.
Situated about 65 kilometres southeast of Nairobi, Machakos is taking advantage of its proximity to the capital city to court investors put off by the cost of land and office.
Mr Mutua said the project would generate more than 300,000 direct jobs to people who will work with construction firms, retailers, financial service providers health and education institutions among others.
The first phase of the Machakos city project is currently under way and involves construction of a recreation park at Maruba dam in Machakos.