The government has released a new growth strategy meant to create at least 400,000 new jobs over the next decade.
The five-point plan, released yesterday by Industrialisation and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed, is also projected to create between Sh200 billion and Sh300 billion in new wealth.
The main focus is developing Mombasa as a hub, bringing aboard food processors, building of various agro-processing zones across the country and development of textiles and leather clusters to attract investors.
“We also plan to offer incentives for local value addition for multinational companies to consider creating opportunities for SMEs by investing in group packaging,” said the Cabinet secretary, adding that these efforts would attract Sh20 billion and Sh24 billion in value addition and 10,000 jobs.
The government will also focus on small and medium sized enterprises, improving ease of doing business, creating an Industrial Development Fund and driving results through the newly formed delivery Unit.
“We will have to focus on areas that we believe the country has a comparative advantage and not do so many things, especially where Kenya cannot compete with the rest of the world,” he said.
The government forecasts that the sector has a potential to increase the GDP contribution to beyond 15 per cent, up from 11 per cent last year.
Mr Mohamed spoke during the launch of the Kenya Industrial Transformation Programme (KITP) where he said the sector would increase exports hence improve trade balance with a potential of multiplying Foreign Direct investments fivefold.
He said 75 per cent of global trade is in manufactured goods and if Kenya does not have any of these, then the nation will become ‘a country of trades who cannot do anything else’.
The government will partner with the private sector in a bid to double the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector.
Mr Mohamed was, however, concerned with the slow uptake of government initiatives by the private sector.
“We have huge tracts of land in Athi River under Economic Processing Zones (EPZ) programme but it has taken a long time for that land to be taken up by industrialists.
‘‘We are working with the private sector today to find out what the demand for that land is,” he said.
STEEL AND IRON INDUSTRIES
The government is scaling back on over-ambitious projects such as the steel and iron industry though Mr Mohamed said such projects will not be entirely abandoned. He said setting up an iron and steel mill is not viable at the moment.
“Before I came to the ministry one of the key deliverables was setting up an iron and steel mill.
‘If you look at what is happening globally there is significant surplus and it is very difficult to compete in that area, not to mention some of the challenges around the raw materials,” he said.