JOB CREATION

Kariokor Leather Factory being equipped, open soon

Automation of factory will not only increase SMEs and shoe market but also provide jobs

In Summary

• Shoe production to increase from two to 10 million pairs annually. 

• The Old Kariokor Market has around 1,000 employees but after the launch of the new market, it is expected to house at least 10,000 workers in the next three years. 

A trader works on leather belts at old Kariokor Leather market on April 15.
LEATHER PRODUCTS: A trader works on leather belts at old Kariokor Leather market on April 15.
Image: COURTESY

Nairobi residents will soon have more local leather products to choose from once equipping of the Kariokor Common Leather Factory is completed.

Nairobi county last week handed over the Sh42 million market to Kenya Leather Development Council for equipping.

The opening date was not announced.

Before the renovation, the old Kariokor market used to accommodate 1,000 traders but the new market is expected to house at least 10,000 workers in three years. 

Nairobi executive for Trade Winfred Gathangu said upgrading the leather factory comes when economic growth is urgently needed given the economic damage by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The objective is to support Micro and Small Enterprises producing leather goods in an environmentally friendly setting with modern technology and equipment,"Gathangu said.

The goal is to produce standardised goods that are competitive locally, regionally and globally," she said.

The executive handed over the company to CEO Isaac Noor for equipping. Present was the board chairman of the Kenya Leather Development Council, Abdi Bare Duale.

He said automation of the leather factory will not only increase SMEs and the shoe market but also provide jobs, especially for residents.

 “We must create jobs for our people, especially during these tough times. Innovation is everything in this 21st century," Noor added.

However, the commissioning date was not announced.

Nairobi executive for commerce and Cooperatives Winfred Gathangu and CEO of Kenya Leather Development Council,Isaac Noor at Kariokor on on Thursday June 15.
MORE LEATHER GOODS. Nairobi executive for commerce and Cooperatives Winfred Gathangu and CEO of Kenya Leather Development Council,Isaac Noor at Kariokor on on Thursday June 15.
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

Last June, the Nairobi government signed a Sh100 million deal with the Kenya Leather Development Council to equip the factory.

The equipment has been stored at Thika, pending completion of the works.

The market was revamped and installed with the latest equipment to produce the best products.

The factory is in the Kariokor ward of Starehe subcounty.

The Kariokor Common Leather Factory is a pilot project expected to be benchmarked by other counties.

It was initiated in 2016 by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Enterprise Development and the Kenya Leather Development Council in collaboration with City Hall’s trade department.

The initial phase of the development included the godown, ablution block, generator and compressor rooms, installation and supply of electricity and electrical works as well as improvement of the parking area.

The facility is eventually expected to produce 10 million shoes up from the current 2 million. 

This will increase traders’ annual income to more than Sh1 billion by 2022.

Nairobi has the highest number of slaughterhouses in the country with an average annual production of 525 tonnes of hides and skins, 1.6 tonnes of goatskin, 31.5 tonnes of calf hides and 199 tonnes of camel hides.

The county government said it would train employees on how to operate the equipment.

A management board will be created involving the Leather Council, the county and the national government.

(Edited by V. Graham)