Devki Group of Companies has started construction work on its planned Ksh 500 billion mega steel plant project in Kwale County with a promise to create over 1, 500 jobs.
The ground breaking ceremony at Devki Steel Mills Limited in the Samburu-Gora area off the Nairobi-Mombasa highway was officiated by Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya on behalf of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The company’s chairman Narendra Raval said the plant was projected to produce half-a-million tonnes of steel annually once it was operational.
“The plant will produce steel sufficient for Kenya and the whole of the East African region and will be the second largest in Africa after South Africa,” said Raval.
He said the location of the project in Kwale was done after a research by his company found it to be one of the most marginalized counties in the country.
Raval said locals would be given priority in employment in the factory, noting that this would bring to 7, 000, the number of people working in his Group.
He also said local steel production would also save the country a lot of foreign exchange that was spent on importation of the product.
Munya described the project as the very first of its kind in the country and the region saying it would help meet the sharp rise in steel demand due to the anticipated construction boom under the Big 4 Agenda that included affordable housing.
“The plant will boost the economy and will transform lives,” he said, adding that the project marked another milestone in the country’s industrialisation agenda.
The CS underscored the focus on promoting the manufacturing sector which is a key component of the Big 4 Agenda that is aimed at creating employment for young people.
“The government will protect local manufacturers against unfair competition as it also strives to create a persistent enabling environment for investment,” he said noting that increased investments would help tackle poverty and unemployment in the country.
Others speakers included Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, who urged counties to support investments to resolve youth unemployment.
Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, his Machakos counterpart Dr Alfred Mutua, Kinango MP Benjamin Tayari and Kwale Woman Rep Zulekha Juma, also spoke during the ceremony.