Sunday, September 16, 2012

COMESA in bid to boost Leather Processing

The Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) member states are in a bid to entice investors to fund leather processing, making use of the abundant raw materials supplies and build capacity for export markets.

The COMESA countries lack capacity to process leather that can compete on the global level and are hoping that joint ventures will result in high quality materials for the world market.
The region mainly exports semi-processed leather leading to loss of revenue and jobs to foreign manufacturers.

“There is need to tap investments in the sector in areas of leather processing, footwear and leather goods,” said the permanent secretary ministry of Livestock Development Kenneth Lusaka in a speech read on his behalf.

“We want to create reciprocal interest for joint venture operations between overseas and COMESA countries, and stakeholders and in particular with Kenya, Sudan and Uganda,” said Mr Mwinyihija Mwinyikione, the chief executive of the Kenya Leather Development Council (KLDC).

Mr Mwinyihija was speaking during a leather investors forum held in Fairview Hotel, Nairobi on Friday. In attendance were investors from India, China, and other COMESA countries.

The forum was also meant to showcase available opportunities for direct investments, where foreign investors open their own enterprises as is presently happening in Ethiopia.

The COMESA sub-region produces 51 per cent of hides 32 per cent of sheep skin and 38.3 per cent of goat skins of Africa according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Kenya is in the process of building six more tanneries which are expected to be complete by year end that will bring to 19 the total number of tanneries in the country.

The sector currently contributes Sh6.3 billion ($75 million) to the Kenyan economy and the value is expected to rise to Sh10.5 billion ($125 million) according to the ministry.

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