The Dubai style Chinese City at Athi River, in Machakos County, seems to have hit a snag reportedly after the investors found out that a bogus Chinese land dealer in Kenya had fraudulently sold them the land on which it was to be build. Initially, the investors had announced that they had acquired their land from a flower company which they had whose name they had kept secret.
The investors had given the last part of this year as the deadline for the start of construction of the project. They are however, yet to start or announce a new date.
The city, to be built 30 kilometers South East of Nairobi, is targeted to have skyscrapers and infrastructure that would match the splendor of Dubai. It is to cost Sh65 billion (US$ 751mn)
A coalition of 100 investors had said they planned to build a “Chinese-controlled economic zone” skyscrapers and luxury residences to “match the glamour of Dubai.”
It would include “at least 20 skyscrapers” and boast “a shopping destination that stocks Chinese and other global products.
The grand plan involves at least 100 Asian investors. It is believed to have been among the agendas of the Chinese President when he visited Kenya early this year.
In its new policy of engagement with African countries, export of excess Chinese “labor” has been build in as an important component of Chinese assistance.
But it has not been smooth relationship with the local Kenyan population with the Chinese being accused of illiteracy, uncouth behavior, racism, corruption and a multitude of other vices.
Despite the many benefits taunted by the Chinese – include employment opportunities, many Kenyans are apprehensive that the project will be a gateway for Chinese to grab their land and introduce colonial style-racism in Kenya, 50 years after Kenyans fought many battles to regain their freedom from the British. According to one of the investors, Mr Qiu Yan of Multi-Win Holding Ltd (Hong Kong) the project has the potential to create 200,000 jobs once completed.
Cyber Crimes, Ivory Trade
Only a few months ago, a Chinese restaurant in Nairobi was closed down by the Nairobi County Government for running its business along racist lines. And there are Chinese in remand prison accused of cybercrimes, while others have previously been accused of illegal ivory trade.
Mr Yan added that a conference planned later this month in Nairobi would attract more Chinese investors interested in the initiative that is expected to change the face of Athi River. Other key individuals involved include Mr Guo Dong and Prof Luo Ming.
The Director of External Communications at State House, Mr Munyori Buku, said he was aware of the proposed project which would push the government’s plan to turn around the country’s economic prospects and help achieve Vision 2030.
“Such projects are a clear manifestation of the Jubilee administration’s plan to take the Vision 2030 to the next level,” Mr Buku said.
China is Africa’s biggest trade partner—the country frequently trades the right to develop energy infrastructure for contributing to social welfare and health programs, leading plenty of people to accuse China of acting as a neocolonial force. Just last year, Kenyan officials signed a $5 billion agreement that will allow China to build roads, railways, and more infrastructures within the country.