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Kenya to roll out special trade zones in six months

Published date:
Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Special economic zones will be rolled out in six months to replace export processing zones which have been facing hitches.

The new areas will offer greater incentives to investors while addressing the weaknesses found in the EPZ which were set up in the 1990s to accelerate industrialisation.

Trade Assistant minister Omingo Magara said the government intends to conclude the process of setting up the zones in the shortest time possible.

“We want to give the commitment that the government wants the new economic zones launched in six months,” he said. Mr Magara spoke on Tuesday during a workshop to discuss the draft policy with stakeholders.

He said after the fine tuning of the draft, it would then be taken to Parliament for debate.

American market

EPZs, which were set up to supply the American market under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (Agoa), mainly dealing with the textiles have been experiencing challenges after the multi-fibre agreement was removed in 2005.

The move allowed low cost newly industrialised countries in the far east to compete directly for the same market.

This has led to several textile companies folding up and others relocating.

According to the policy draft, the EPZ programme has been hampered by legal constraints that do not allow value addition to primary products, development of industrial clusters and support to small and medium enterprises.

The special economic zones, will on the other hand, seek to correct these while diversifying the products and services by giving sector specific incentives.

The SEZs will also be set up across the country starting with the Athi Basin Industrial Corridor.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Kenya's bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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