The Kenyan manufacturing sector has grown over time with more players joining different sectors of the economy. While most politicians seeking elective seats in the August 9 polls have anchored their manifestos on manufacturing, data shows that Kenya still has a big gap to fill in this sector.
According to a 2019 World Economic Forum (WEF) report, Kenya was primed as one of the most promising countries with the highest untapped manufacturing capacity in Africa.
Data from Statista, industry - manufacturing included - contributed to 17.38 per cent of Kenya's GDP. Kenyans.co.ke takes a look at some of products manufactured locally that Kenyans have little knowledge on.
1. Glass products
Kenyan firms have established themselves as leading glass manufacturers for both local consumption and export. This ranges from laminated glasses used in construction to glass-made utensils used in most of the households locally.
The Kitengela Hot Glass company located in Kitengela, Kajiado county, for example, is one of the leading manufacturers of glass products ranging from chandeliers, lamps, and beads among others. The company recycles broken glass to manufacture items such as glass jugs, vases, drinking glasses and glass tables.
In April 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta launched a gun manufacturing factory in the country. The factory, located in Ruiru, Kiambu county, has the capacity to produce 12,000 rifles annually and was established to make Kenya self-reliant when it comes to firearms and other weaponry.
The Ksh4 billion plant utilizes 60 per cent of input from Kenya hence maximizing on the exploitation of locally available resources. The factory is expected to lower the cost of acquiring firearms significantly and subsequently boost security operations in the country.
The Ruiru firm is Kenya’s second in manufacturing after the Kenya Ordnance Factories Corporation which was established in 1997 to manufacture bullets and is located in Uasin Gishu county.
3. Medical equipment and pharmaceuticals
Kenya also boasts accomplished pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturers.
These pharmaceuticals produce medical supplies enough to supply the local market and countries within East and Central Africa.
Beta Healthcare, for example, manufactures pain relievers, liniments and creams meant for relieving pain and fever. Examples of products manufactured by Beta Healthcare include Mara Moja, Good Morning, and Feverex. Other pharmaceuticals based in Kenya include Benmed Pharmaceuticals, Biodeal Laboratories, and Biopharma.
Revital Healthcare Limited is also noteworthy in its manufacturing of syringes. In 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta lauded Kenyan manufacturers for their efforts in producing syringes for both export and local use during the Covid-19 pandemic.
4. Energy, electrical, and electronics
Electricals and electronic companies have also established in Kenya. These companies manufacture and export electrical cables, telecommunication accessories and fiber optic cables.
As the country aims to increase electricity connectivity, electrical appliances including cables have been on high demand hence favoring these manufacturers. These companies have also engaged in manufacturing of solar energy appliances which is also timely considering the world’s inclination towards renewable energy.
Examples of firms dealing in electrical products include the Chloride Exide Solar, East Africa Cables, Davis and Shirtliff Solar and Power Africa.
5. Motor vehicles
The famous Nyayo car made history as the first ever Kenyan-assembled motor vehicle in 1986. This was part of the government's plan to initiate manufacturing of vehicles locally. Since then, more automobile companies have established in the country despite the limited adequately trained and qualified personnel.
General Motors (GM) and Mobius Motors are the leading assembly plants in the country. GM is the manufacturer of models such as Isuzu and Chevrolet while Mobius specialises in Mobius model.
Mobius is the only indigenous motor vehicles manufacturer in the country and was established in the year 2010. It is a manufacturer of SUVs specifically designed for African roads and markets.
The automobile is gradually gaining popularity in Kenya and other parts of Africa with its latest model, Mobius Three, retailing at Ksh3.9 million.
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