Kenya is looking forward to the leather sector to create 70,000 jobs by 2022 and boost the economy from Sh 14 billion now to Sh 55 billion, principal secretary for industrialisation Betty Maina said recently. It is the fourth sector apart from agro-processing, textiles and apparels, and oil, mining and gas that is expected to drive manufacturing growth.
Maina said this in Nairobi during the Kenya Leather Development Programme meeting supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Hub and the industrialisation ministry, according to a Kenyan newspaper report.
The leather sector accounted for a mere 2 per cent of formal manufacturing jobs and 1.3 per cent of manufacturing value added in 2013, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
The meeting developed a diagnostic study on the skills gap in the leather industry, which now employs only 14,000 people during peak season.
Despite opportunities for growth, the prevailing structure of the industry is restrictive and wealth is very narrowly distributed among a small number of manufacturers, says the World Bank, which feels Kenya has an edge because of its abundant natural resources of cattle, goats and sheep.