Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives has made a renewed push to revive the country’s troubled leather sector. According to the Ministry, value addition in the leather sector has been minimal and most of Kenya’s exports have been in the form of unprocessed raw hides and skins.
In 2014, Kenya’s Ministry of Industrialization requested technical assistance from the World Bank to conduct competitiveness assessments and develop competitiveness strategies for four key industries: textiles and apparel, food processing, furniture, and leather products. The Ministry selected these four industry sectors for serious consideration as priority sectors for industrial development and job creation in Kenya.
As such, the Economic Transformations Group, Inc. (ETG), a sustainable economic development consultancy from New York and Silicon Valley, was contracted to complete the analysis and strategy for the leather industry. ETG built on prior analytical work by Kyram Consultants Ltd.
“Kenya’s leather industry is a significant area for development to increase competitiveness and boost exports and job creation. Developing Leather and leather goods sector offers great opportunities for Industrialization,” the Ministry said in a previous statement.
In the context of Kenya’s long-term vision to become an industrialized middle-income country by 2030, its leather and leather products sector offers an important opportunity for industrialization and diversification of exports, the Ministry added.
Kenya’s government believes that its leather sector can contribute to economic growth through expanding exports of both semi-processed and finished leather goods.
Kenya’s Ministry of Industry held a meeting in November 2018 to discuss issues regarding the country’s industrial transformation agenda. The gathering was held on Africa Industrialization Day, an event that offers a unique platform to enhance international cooperation and dialogue on the pan-African industrialization agenda.
The drive received support from a number of key industry players, including the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), the representative organization for manufacturing value-addition industries in Kenya. It was also backed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and IDB Capital Ltd a financial services organisation from the Government of Kenya mandated to assist in the promotion, establishment, expansion and modernization of industrial enterprises.
“Despite a heavy demand of up to 28 million units of leather, the demand is still served by imported supplies due to an existing deficit of more than 24 million units against the current local supply of less than 4million units annually,” Kenya’s Ministry of Industry Cabinet Secretary, Adan Mohamed said in a past statement.
Now Kenya’s Industrialization Ministry plans to capitalize on the momentum of the meeting to grow its leather sector.