Kenya leather industry seeks joint ventures with Chinese firms to boost local value addition

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 12:53 |
File photo taken on July 11, 2017 shows an exhibitor displays leather bags during the annual Kenya National Trade Week at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, capital of Kenya. (Xinhua/Allan Mutiso)

Kenya's leather industry is seeking joint ventures with Chinese firms in order to boost local value addition, the umbrella association has said.

Beatrice Mwasi, secretary-general of Leather Apex Society of Kenya told Xinhua in Nairobi that currently over 95 percent of leather is exported before being fully processed due to lack of capacity.

"We are seeking to partner with Chinese firms so that we can wean ourselves from exporting semi-processed leather products," Mwasi said on the sidelines of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Conference and Expo.

The two-day event brought together policymakers and small entrepreneurs to develop measures to boost the SME sector.

Mwasi urged the government to prioritize the development of the leather industry because it helps to create sustainable jobs through forwarding and backward linkages.

According to the leather lobby, Kenya is a net importer of finished leather goods despite having adequate raw materials in the form of livestock to be self-sufficient.

Mwasi observed that Kenya's key export market for semi-processed leather is China and India.

She said that some of the key interventions required to develop a vibrant finished leather goods industry including the provision of financial support as well as technology transfer to the few leather manufacturers in the country.

Mwasi noted that the local leather processing industry still requires additional support despite the duty imposed on unprocessed leather exports. Meanwhile, the leather sector also faces stiff competition from imports of second-hand leather products. (Xinhua)

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