What you need to know:
- The value of global trade in skins and hides, Dr Noor says, is $271 billion that is the combined worth of coffee, tea, coffee, flowers, rubber and meat.
Kinanie Leather Park is nothing but 500 acres of bone dry land at the centre of Athi River, stones and pebbles where rivers might visit once every rainy season and shrubs dried in searing heat.
An animated Dr Issack Noor stands in an ankle deep layer of dust explaining why the government has already sunk Sh1.2 billion in Kinanie leather park in Athi River and plans to pour in Sh15.8 billion more.
The value of global trade in skins and hides, Dr Noor says, is $271 billion that is the combined worth of coffee, tea, coffee, flowers, rubber and meat.
Dr Noor was speaking during a two-day familiarisation tour by the Vision 2030 Delivery Board, which saw the team visit several flagship projects, including the leather park.
He says that in that value chain, Kenya has a market of Sh41.3 billion or just 0.14 percent and that is why the leather park is important, to take a bigger bite of this untapped economic potential.
But Kinanie Leather Park is nothing but 500 acres of bone dry land at the centre of Athi River, stones and pebbles where rivers might visit once every rainy season and shrubs dried in searing heat.
The land is not serviced with a road, has no water supply infrastructure and the only electric energy is a small substation that serves the main project site.
But there is visible progress after years of planning, designing and procuring contractors. The Sh1.2 billion effluent treatment plant is taking shape changing the landscape with rising concrete buildings that will remove toxins from the industrial effluent generated by the tanneries and the Athi River EPZ.
“We expect to complete the treatment plant by July this year and by March contractors will be moving into the leather park to build the initial four units of tanneries. We encourage the private sector to come and also set up here but with the state of that road and lack of water it is highly unlikely they will want to,” Dr Noor said during the visit.
Red tape where every department has its priorities and coordination is another hurdle the project must overcome.
That is where Vision 2030 comes in, promising to try and intervene with the roads and water agency to help Dr Noor deliver the project that is expected to create 35,000 jobs.
It is envisioned that it will have 15 tanneries initially, a training centre, common manufacturing facilities and a common Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP).
These will translate to a production capacity of about 10 tonnes of hides and skins with an output of 10,000 pairs of shoes, handbags, leather garments and industrial gloves per day.
“We understand the resource constraints. That is why the government has revamped the PPP unit to address those constraints,” Vision 2030 chief executive Kenneth Mwige said.
Mr Mwige said there is a huge opportunity for the private sector to participate in the entire value chain of the project.
The Vision 2030 board and management also toured Konza City technopolis which is bursting with activity laying underground cable, sewer lines, power lines, paving roads and power sub stations.
The once quiet empty plains that were no more than an advertisement board declaring Africa’s Silicon Savannah has been transformed. The eight-story building that serves as the coordination point is complete and in use hosting Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) offices.
It will house incubation hubs, a restaurant will be set up on the building’s rooftop and a conference center in its basement.
The Tier III National Data Centre, with Smart City facilities and services to support Konza Technopolis, e-government as well as the Small and Medium Enterprises Services has also been completed and a university is taking shape. When complete, Konza technology city will create 15,000 jobs and host 30,000 residents. It will host private business complexes and office spaces, mixed use developments, schools, research institutions, ICT hub and residential space.
But here too they face a similar problem, Konza is still not served with piped water that is supposed to flow from Thwake dam.
The development is also waiting on Kenya Railways to construct a spur line to the development linking it with the Standard Gauge Railway and hopes KeNHA will prioritise expanding the road from Machakos junction to the 600 acre city.
Mr Mwige who was recently appointed to the Vision 2030 management said he will spearhead talks between various stakeholders to align their various priorities to enable the project delivery as the last 10 years of President Mwai Kibaki’s vision enter homestretch.