The Kenya Government estimates that the annual demand for shoes in Kenya is between 24 and 32 million pairs, but only manages to manufacture four million pairs a year and imports the rest. This is the demand that the Shs17 bilion Leather City in Athi River is expected to fulfill when it becomes operational. The City, the only one of its kind in Africa, 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.
Leather City Location
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.
According to Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed, the aim of stimulating investment in the leather sub-sector and elevating the country from its status as an exporter of raw materials and semi-processed hides and skins to a major player in finished leather goods.
The first phase aims to establish 15 tanneries, each with a production capacity of 10 tons of raw hides and skins, and more than 10,000 pairs of shoes, handbags, leather garments and industrial gloves a day.
Feasibility Study Bids
Invitation for bids to consultancy services went out early in the year for a feasibility study and development of a master plan for the leather city. The project will create millions of jobs for Kenya’s growing population of job seekers thus helping Kenya’s quest for Vision 2030 when the government plans to transform the country to an industrialized 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,” says Adan.
Leading Leather Producing Countries in Africa
The construction of the Leather City will put Kenya far ahead of the African leather giants – Ethiopia, Botswana and Nigeria. Ethiopia, which has over 100 million cattle, sheep, and goats, leads the pack with exports of luxury leather products going to Italy, China, the United Kingdom, and India – among many others.
The population of cattle, goats and sheep in Botswana is estimated at 2.5 million, 1.8 million and 300 000 respectively.