Home News Business SPECIAL REPORT: Kenya at the pace of realizing industrialization

SPECIAL REPORT: Kenya at the pace of realizing industrialization

[Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina and the Presidential Delivery Unit tour Associated Vehicle Assemblers firm in Miritini, Mombasa County. Photo/Ahmed Omar].

Kenya is making great strides to become a giant in the manufacturing and Industrialization sector in Africa by advancing its efforts to implement manufacturing as part of the big four agenda.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in his second term in office came up with four pillars to focus on namely Food Security, Health, Infrastructure and Manufacturing geared towards transforming the country.

The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development led by Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina and the Presidential Delivery Unit toured a number of manufacturing projects in Mombasa and Kilifi County.

The team toured the Associated Vehicle Assemblers firm in Miritini, Umoja Shoes and Revital Healthcare EPZ in Kilifi.

She noted that the formulation of the National Automotive Policy was going to be a game-changer in the automotive sector as Kenya strives to push the “Buy Kenya Build Kenya” brand.

For instance, the Local Content Bill, 2018 which was set to steer the sector, as well as develop and promote production, is likely not to be realized, yet, it has been proven that promoting local content will enhance value-addition and economics for business, services, goods and experts (human capital). In tandem, this would lead to better production, improved skills, create more job opportunities and enhance knowledge transfer.

Buy Kenya Build Kenya

Similarly, the Buy Kenya Build Kenya Strategy was put in place to promote local businesses. As stated in the Strategy Document (June 2017), it encourages local production processes to pay special attention to local content and value addition requirements, to enhance local market access for locally produced goods and services.

“The policy once fully implemented is expected to increase the number of locally produced and assembled quality products into the Kenyan market,” Said Maina.

The new policy adopted by the cabinet at the beginning of the year is expected to put restrictions on the importation of various parts and spare parts to encourage the consumption of locally produced parts.

“In order to build the local capacity, we have made restrictions in the policy for parts that must be made in Kenya whether they are tyres or batteries, as we go forward, our dream with this policy is that more parts will be made in Kenya,” she said.

AVA’s operations manager Moses Abiero stated that the new incoming policy has seen them experience a surge in the number of vehicles they are assembling.

“Last year, we assembled around 3000 units, but with the new policy starting to take shape in the sector, we are now looking at assembling 6000 units by the end of the year,” said Abiero.

The firm has also established a training academy to train their employees hoping to partner with colleges and other institutions to churn out more students with the required skills for the automotive industry job market.

The firm has seen an increase in new sales of vehicles grow by 40 per cent with the number of newly assembled vehicles growing by 60 per cent to hit 20,000 last year.


The projections are to double the workforce from the current 360 and also create new 5000 indirect jobs by the year 2025.

While visiting the Revital Healthcare EPZ facility, the CS noted that the pharmaceutical sector has seen a lot of innovations, especially during the covid-19 pandemic.

“Our country is producing a lot of sophisticated products that we are able to export to even countries in the west, this tells us that our country has come of age and we are able to meet the global demand,” said Maina.

The CETVE ISO approved facility opened in 2008 by president Kibaki, manufactures 1billion medical devices annually ranging from syringes, PPEs and blood testing tubes.

[CS Betty Maina and the Presidential Delivery Unit team touring a pharmaceutical manufacturing company, Revital Healthcare EPZ in Kilifi County. Ahmed Omar].

“Our biggest export is the 0.5ml used to administer the covid-19 vaccine,” said Hush Meta, the facility’s head of international visitors.

The facility is planning to open up the first medical assembling plant in Africa expected to create slightly over 100,000 jobs.

Illicit trade

During her tour at the Umoja shoe apparel firm, CS Maina noted that the industry for a long time now has been facing a challenge of illicit trade.

She emphasized the need to beef up security to protect the sector from unscrupulous business people.

Umoja shoes produce over 100 types of footwear products annually generating revenues to the government of up to 600 million shillings annually in terms of taxes.

The facility produces 80 million pairs of shoes annually while employing 2,500 individuals directly.

[CS Betty Maina and the Presidential Delivery Unit team tour EPZ, Umoja Shoes Company in Kilifi County. Photo/Ahmed Omar].

The Cs said the Technical and Vocational Education Training Institutions are producing quality skilled human resources with the right attitudes and values required for growth and prosperity of the various sectors of the economy to work in the industries.

“Buy Kenya, Build Kenya” initiative was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta to create jobs for the youth. The initiative also accords Kenyans an opportunity to access quality, locally made and affordable goods.