The Ewaso Ng’iro North River Basin Development Authority (ENNDA) has proposed establishing a state-of-the-art leather factory in Northern Kenya. This visionary project aims to harness the abundant livestock resources in the region, particularly hides and skins, to promote economic development, create employment opportunities, and add value to local raw materials.

The proposed Northern Kenya Leather Factory will be strategically located in Isiolo County, taking advantage of its proximity to major transportation routes and the upcoming Isiolo Abattoir. The factory will have a capacity to process 5,000 tonnes of hides and skins annually and produce 150,000 pairs of footwear. It will be equipped with modern machinery and infrastructure, including tanning drums, splitting machines, drying tunnels, and effluent treatment facilities. The project’s justification lies in its potential to transform the economic landscape of Northern Kenya. Currently, the region lacks a dedicated tannery, resulting in the wastage or low-value sale of hides and skins. By establishing a local leather processing facility, ENNDA aims to create a platform for value addition, enabling the conversion of raw materials into high-quality finished leather products. This will generate higher income for livestock farmers and traders while fostering the growth of ancillary industries and businesses in the leather.

Moreover, the leather factory is expected to create 500 direct jobs and 5,000 indirect employment opportunities, providing a much-needed boost to the local economy. It will offer skill development and training programs, equipping the workforce with modern production techniques and quality control processes. This capacity building will enhance the employability and entrepreneurial potential of the local population.

The project aligns with the Kenyan government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda, which prioritizes industrialization, manufacturing, and inclusive growth. It contributes to the diversification of Northern Kenya’s economy, reducing reliance on traditional sectors like pastoralism and agriculture. By attracting investments and promoting regional development, the leather factory will showcase the untapped potential of the region.

Environmentally, the factory will adopt sustainable practices, including an integrated Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) waste treatment approach. The Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) will be equipped with a Reverse Osmosis Unit capable of recycling 75% of the wastewater, minimizing environmental impact and ensuring responsible operations.

The impact of the Northern Kenya Leather Factory extends beyond economic gains. It will contribute to poverty alleviation, improved livelihoods, and social stability in the region. By creating employment opportunities and fostering economic growth, the project has the potential to reduce insecurity and promote peace. It aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure).