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Kenya seeks to expand sector with launch blueprint

17 September 2015, 21:35

Nairobi - Kenya plans to expand its manufacturing export sector as it launched the first ever Industrialization Blueprint on Wednesday, geared at positioning the country as Africa's next industrial hub.

The decade-long plan, dubbed Kenya's Industrial Transformation Programme (KITP), looks beyond import-substitution and export-led policy regime to develop its industries, stimulating Kenya's ambitions as Africa's next industrial power

Cabinet Secretary Industrialization and Enterprise Development Adan Mohammed who launched the blueprint in Nairobi said Kenya has identified 10 opportunities within the key strategies that will increase manufacturing sector jobs to 435,000 additional jobs in the next 5 years and add 2.85 billion U.S. dollars to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

"We also plan to offer incentives for local value addition for multinational companies to consider creating opportunities for SME's by investing in group packaging," Mohamed said, noting that these efforts will attract between 200-240 million dollars in value addition and 10,000 jobs.

Kenya's large industrial sector has seen its share of GDP increase very little over the past two decades.

Also read: Unclaimed assets agency holding KES 3.3 billion

The sector, despite its potential, has not been dynamic enough to function as "an engine for growth" for the Kenyan economy as has been the case of newly emerging economies.

Anchored on a five-point strategy, prioritizing leveraging Kenya's comparative advantages, the plan aims at growing the manufacturing sector to levels above 15 percent of GDP from a static 11 percent over the past decade.

"As an emerging economy, moving from agriculture based, low income economy to an industrial, middle income economy, it is paramount that the manufacturing share to GDP increases," said Mohammed.

Under the plan, Kenya will build and innovate on its export engines and continue to support them.

"To boost production and exports, Kenya will work to ease regulations on the sale of the exports while looking to attract a 50-100 percent price premium by marketing tea and coffee as a 'Made in Kenya' brand internationally," Mohammed said.

The East African nation is also eyeing on capitalizing on agro-processing's global market worth 14.7 billion dollars.

"The government is working on attracting investors to develop three to five large integrated value chain 'Agropolis' projects with potential to yield 300 million dollars in GDP and create up to 60,000 jobs," he said.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) CEO Phyllis Wakiaga said building capacity of Kenya's local construction companies could yield 95-190 million dollars in GDP and create 30,000 jobs from the bludgeoning industry.

"While vision 2030 lays out in broad strokes of our development, the roadmap is contained in the newly released KITP. This plan builds on that broad vision and further outlines how we are going to be industrialised in the remaining 15 years of the blueprint," Wakiaga said.

The plan also discusses the construction sector, the textile sector, the leather sector, the oil and gas sector and other age old sectors such as tourism for growth initiatives.

What stands out as well in the KITP is the intention of the plan to establish various facilities in various counties as a way of promoting development on the counties depending on the resources available in the respective Counties.

Under the plan, Mohammed said the government will focus on creating an enabling environment as Kenya seeks to transition to higher-value added manufacturing sectors.

He said the government will focus on upgrading investment targeting strategies to attract local capital and foreign direct investment.

Mohamed said the government plans to enforce the "Buy Kenyan, Build Kenya" policy to nip Kenya's huge 780 million dollars textile and apparel import bill.

"We will be expanding to new geographical markets in textiles and apparel growth. and building an industrial park with a textile cluster in Naivasha to take advantage of natural power sources," he said.

Other efforts will include marketing Kenya leather products abroad and securing international sourcing contracts for leather products.

Mohamed said the blueprint commits to work build on capacity of local firms to profit from Kenya's infrastructure and investments boom.


- Xinhua

Tags nairobi

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