The government has embarked on a plan to build a Leather City in Machakos county to help limit exportation of raw hides and skins to developed nations.
The move comes as Kenyans continue to grapple with high rates of unemployment and the project will create millions of jobs once it fruitions. Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed said the project will help Kenya’s quest for Vision 2030 become more realistic as the government plans to transform the country to an industrialised nation.
“Over 90% of our products are exported in wet blue form and we need to convert these to finished products that can fetch good global markets,” noted the CS on Tuesday. “We have abundant supply of raw hides and skins and the world-class-industrial city at Kinanie will generate revenue and create jobs in developing finished leather goods.”
Dubbed the Leather City, the project will be located at Kinanie in Machakos County near Athi River on a 500-acre government land. The central government has already allotted Ksh1billion to this project in the current financial year. The project, deemed to cost around Ksh17billion, will be funded mainly by private investors in what is a departure from the past with the government providing land and infrastructure such as roads and effluent treatment plant.
The Leather City will house tanneries, a training centre, common manufacturing facilities and a common Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP). The initial phase will target 15 tanneries each with a production capacity of 10 tonnes of raw hides and skins per day and at least 10,000 pairs of shoes, industrial gloves and leather garments. The CS encouraged all tanneries located across the country to be part of the initiative and join the City as a way of sharing infrastructure.
“We are giving land and infrastructure to investors and it will be prudent if all tanneries located across the country come to Kinanie where infrastructure will be shared hence killing uncertainties about the future of the leather industry.”
The ground-breaking ceremony is slated for February and the government is urging investors to get a slice of the land and in turn help spur development in the sector. Meanwhile the government is mooting a partnership-based relationship with institutions of higher learning to help in development of soft skills and capacity building as a way of adding value to the sector.