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Kenya Square: Inside government’s grand plans to counter China Square

The Government has made an announcement asking businesspeople willing to sell products produced in Kenya to start booking spaces on a market place whose construction will soon kick off.

In what is clearly the Kenyan government’s counter punch at the Chinese-owned China Square, the Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry has said there are 17 acres available for those willing to set up shop at the market which will be known as Kenya Square.

“Strictly for products produced in Kenya. Book your stall now. Hustler traders only, 17 acres of space available for rent,” a poster shared by the Ministry reads in part.

“Twende kazi,” Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Mr Moses Kuria tweeted as he encouraged Kenyans to apply for the available spaces.

Also read: Anti-Counterfeit Authority returns Sh50 million worth of goods to China Square

For the last one week, the Chinese-owned supermarket located in UniCity Mall along Thika Superhighway, has been at the center of major trade row after Mr Kuria raised concerns over its operations.

The CS initially asked the management of Kenyatta University to buy out the lease which had been bought by the Chinese company.

Mr Kuria has since retracted and said that he was willing to work with the owner of the China Square to ensure they built a manufacturing plant in Kenya which will be used in production of goods to reduce competition with local business owners.

“I will assist the owner of China Square to set up a manufacturing plant in Kenya and work on a distribution partnership with Gikomba, Nyamakima, Eastleigh, Kamukunji, Muthurwa and River Road Traders,” Mr Kuria said.

Also read: Chinese Embassy in Nairobi breaks silence on China Square business row

On Wednesday the Chinese Embassy in Kenya broke its silence over the controversy surrounding China Square by calling on the government of Kenya to intervene and protect Chinese enterprises and Chinese citizens amid the unfolding controversy.

“We would like to reiterate that the Embassy supports deepening trade and investment cooperation between China and Kenya, and supports Chinese enterprises and Chinese citizens in conducting business in accordance with Kenyan laws and regulations,” the embassy said.

The statement came after a series of protests by the Nyamakima traders in Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD).

The local traders insist that they should be in charge of controlling the wholesale and retail ends of the supply chain in the country. They accuse the Chinese of taking over the wholesale and retail supply businesses by lowering the price of their commodities by up to 45 per cent of what they sell the wares.

Also read: Foreign PS defers with Moses Kuria as China Square debate rages on