The Kenyan Government has embarked on an ambitious plan to build a leather city in Kinanie, Athi River in Machakos County, which borders Nairobi County to the west.

According to Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed, Sh17 billion (nearly £123 million) will be invested in the 500-acre industrial complex, with the aim of stimulating investment in the leather sub-sector and elevating the country from its status as an exporter of raw materials and semi-processed hides and skins to a major player in finished leather goods.

The first phase aims to establish 15 tanneries, each with a production capacity of 10t of raw hides and skins, and more than 10,000 pairs of shoes, handbags, leather garments and industrial gloves a day.

Mohamed also commented that the government is committed to developing the necessary infrastructure such as road networks, water, electricity, sewage systems and an effluent treatment plant to control pollution.

"Our number one priority for industrialists is to see how we can make it easy for the players in this sector to find a home where infrastructure is shared and all they need is just to set-up their plants – and hopefully we should be able to drive the sector forward in an aggressive manner," he explained during a recent press briefing in Nairobi.

The planned leather city will also accommodate tanneries, a training centre, common manufacturing facilities, chemical storage and distribution units, leather goods accessories, production units, and a business centre and hospitality facilities. Ground-breaking will take place in the next few weeks.