Special economic zones support foreign investors in Kenya

Kenya’s Special Economic Zones, currently being set up in Naivasha, a resort town 100 km outside Nairobi, have demonstrated the drive by the government to ease doing business, executives of an audit firm said.

Rodl and Partner, a European international tax advisory and audit firm, which opened a new office in Nairobi to capture local and foreign firms in the market, welcomed the creation of the Special Economic Zones.

“The Economic Zones Act provides zero-rated taxes to suppliers of raw material to be used in the manufacture of goods. This will enable investors to access raw materials at low costs in exchange for increased taxes from exports,” George Maina, head of tax at Rodl and Partner, said.

Maina said the government also waived previous requirements for all foreign companies incorporated in Kenya to allocate 30 percent shareholding to local shareholders, which is also an incentive to foreign investors in Kenya.

Kenya government allocated 15 million U.S. dollars in 2015 for the construction of the industrial park, where the Special Economic Zones would be set in Olkaria, Naivasha, near the country’s geothermal producing fields.

The government has approved the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway, a high speed railway funded by the Chinese government to reach the Economic Zones.

Christian Rodl, Global Head of Rodl and Partner, said the firm’s entry into Kenya was driven by the East African nation’s ability to attract foreign firms into the Information, Technology and Business Process Outsourcing service sectors as well as renewable energy projects.

“We know Kenya is a center for knowledge-based services. The Silicon Savannah is starting to attract large investors. We see a clear potential to attract investors,” Rodl said.

Rodl and Partner is currently managing renewable energy portfolios jointly funded by Germany.


Xinhua/Zainab Sa’id