Trade and Investment Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has announced that he has given the go-ahead for the buyout of the lease given to China Square, a newly opened store at Kenyatta University’s Unicity Mall in Nairobi.
The mall, located next to Kenyatta University is said to be a hub for products and businesses, selling everything from electronics to clothing.
China Square gained attention for creating a versatile shopping centre that some social media users claimed was challenging the dominance of Eastleigh, Kamukunji, and Dubois Road in the Nairobi Central Business District.
However, Kuria’s tweet suggests that he believes that Chinese investors should focus on manufacturing in Kenya, rather than trading.
“I have today given an offer to Prof Wainaina the VC Kenyatta University to buy out the lease for China Square, Unicity Mall and hand it over to the Gikomba, Nyamakima, Muthurwa & Eastleigh Traders Association. We welcome Chinese investors to Kenya but as manufacturers not traders,” Kuria said.
Buying out the lease means paying the current tenants or leaseholders a sum of money in exchange for terminating their lease agreements, after which the properties would be transferred to the local traders.
By offering to hand over the lease of China Square and Unicity Mall to local traders’ associations, he seemed to be advocating for a more localized approach to commerce in Kenya.
The Gikomba, Nyamakima, Muthurwa, and Eastleigh Traders Associations, which Kuria mentioned in his tweet, are well-known organizations that represent traders in Nairobi’s bustling markets.