Despite the huge animal population in Sudan and the various advantages, the sector suffers from a lack of new technology and from the existence of suitable investment conditions in addition to the lack of a clear strategy to support Sudanese exports.
Secretary General of Leather & Shoes Chamber in the Union of Industrial Chambers, Mohammad Suleiman Hassan said that Sudan is one of the biggest suppliers of raw skins in Africa, adding that while it ranked in third place for supply of goat leather it also has the sixth highest cow leather popluation.
Leather trading began before the independence of Sudan through dealing with countries that have mutual ties such as Egypt and UK. More recently, the leather trade flourished between Sudan and many countries such as Italy, Spain, Turkey, Syria , India and recently China.
Currently there are 18 tanneries ranging between small and medium sized capacities. Some process through the beamhouse and others finish the leather, says Hassan.
He added that the level of investment required in the leather sector is estimated at between US$120 to 150 million to be spent on fixed assets and working capital funds. The annual amount of leather products made in Sudan reached three million of shoes, 15 million pieces of sheepskin leather and one and half million pieces of cowhide leather last year.
He said that a conducive investment environment is needed for the sector to succeed through sound polices and measures that encourage investment in the sector.
The decision of banning raw hide and skin exports in 2000 had led to the collapse of tanning industry in the country as only 6 out of 18 tanneries are currently operational. Hassan asserted that if the sector started to work to its full capacity then it could reduce unemployment and provide more than 65.000 job opportunities.