The regional consultative forum which brings together public, private sector and academia was held in Port Sudan, Republic of Sudan, between 11th and 13th December 2018.The forum is an annual event in which each Member State presents a report on its achievement and way forward in the leather sector.

Objectives of the forum

  • Creating opportunity to share the national and regional leather success stories;
  • Building consensus towards innovation, quality assurance and their importance for export readiness;
  • Sharing research undertakings by identified players at regional and global level;
  • Identifying the key challenges and inventions towards achieving sustainable regional leather sector development;
  • Enhancing the leather tanning industry sustainable productions processes, consumption and eco-entrepreneurship;
  • Discussing the potential pathway to capacity building and technology transfer from both global and regional perspective.

Members States Presentations

The member states presented country reports of the achievements in 2018 and way forward for the year 2019.Eritrea,Ethiopia,Uganda,Kenya,Tanzania, Rwanda and Sudan gave their presentations.

Presentations highlighted the following:-

  • The importance of technology transfer and knowledge of the leather sector .
  • The importance of green liming process with reduction of chemicals .
  • The achievement and challenges in implementation of the value chain .
  • The latest technologies and solid waste utilization presented by Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), India, which included manufacture of leather boards, fertilizers and animal feeds amongst other products .

Collaborative Research Results

The findings of Collaborative Research were presented by Dedan Kimathi University of Science and Technology on adoption of technology by MSMEs; National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe, presented findings on use of leather shavings and plant extracts in production of leather boards, Bahir Dar University in Ethiopia presented the importance of design in the sector while Sudan University of Science and Technology presented a progress report on undertakings in the leather sector.


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The Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Leather Development Council (KLDC) accompanied H.E. The Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya on a tour of Italy between 2nd and 6th December 2018 for purposes of enhancing investment and trade between the two countries. The visit took the delegation to Rome, Milan and Vicenza Cities. The area of interest was the manufacturing component, with special focus on leather, textile and coffee. Kenya’s competitive advantage in the region was also highlighted.
The delegation, which also comprised  three members from the private sector, was able to meet with the sectorial associations in Italy dealing in footwear, leather goods and tanning (ASSOMAC and UNIC). During the visit, prospects of collaboration with the Italian counterpart were deliberated upon basing in mind that Kenya has similar associations
A visit to one of the biggest leather Cities in the world was undertaken. The team visited the Rino Mastrotto Group S.P.A. based in Venneto. The group produces high quality leather for production of footwear, leather goods and upholstery, with 41% being used in the automobile industry. The firm has adopted resource efficiency practices which include:

  • Energy saving
  • Reduced chemical consumption
  • Reduced water use with 95% of the production automated.

The group expressed the desire to support the Big Four Agenda by setting up operations in Africa through Kenya. They stressed that business thrive under stable Governments and political tranquility in Kenya would provide a warm reception for business opportunity in the Country.



Based on a Presidential Directive released in January, 2018, H.E. Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta has directed that all boots, leather products and textiles used by disciplined forces in mended a number of actions to Kenya be procured from local manufacturers with effect from Financial Year 2018/2019. This directive however, is pegged on the requirement that local manufacturers MUST meet high standards that will ensure provision of high quality goods and services.

Steps being taken

According to the CEO KLDC Dr. Issack Noor, the directive by the President is a welcome move by the Government in leading the path towards Buy Kenya, Build Kenya, however, there is still much that needs to be done to ensure  that local MSMEs are able to tap into the opportunities that this directive brings forth. According to Dr. Noor, the Council has recommended.

  • Establish who the disciplined forces are, thereby quantifying the order levels
  • Collate information regarding standard specifications for the disciplined
  • Identify procedures to be met for tendering and qualification
  • Present this information at a forum comprising potential suppliers/manufacturers.

Definition of Standards and Quality Assurance

Dr. Noor observes that one of the key hallmarks of this directive is the requirement for MSMEs to ensure quality of their supplies.

As such, as a Council, we are currently working with relevant stakeholders to define what the standards for boots for the disciplined forces are. This will then be followed by sample testing of products manufactured by MSMEs against the required standards. Workshop(s) will be organized to bring together manufactures, standards agency (ies) representatives, as well as buyers and users of these boots in order to establish a communication platform for all relevant parties. According to Dr. Noor, it is in taking such steps and building synergies among stakeholders that the Presidential Directive will be met and the needs of buyers and suppliers will be adequately addresses


In order to support Kenya‘s leather sector, the USAID East Africa Trade & Investment Hub launched the Kenya Leather Industry Development Programme (KLIDP) in partnership with IL&FS Clusters in 2016. The Project was a one year integrated programme covering the entire value chain, with focus on downstream industries (leather and leather prod- ucts manufacturers). The Programme was designed in con- sultation with public and private stakeholders in the leather industry and also drew from experiences and best practices from India.

Project Activities

Some of the key interventions undertaken under this Project include:-

Diagnostic and Skill Gap Assessment

This was conduct- ed to identify existing skill gaps vis-à-vis the leather industry‘s current and future requirements and suggest measures to bridge the gap in order to enhance competitiveness. Some of the gaps identified include:-

  • Machinery in training institutions are worn out or not installed for
  • Lack of standardized training curriculum as each train- ing institution adopts its
  • Courses offered are mostly long term (2-4) years there- fore involving huge costs for trainees and
  • Courses largely based on theory and lack in practical
  • Demand-supply mismatch as output of training institu- tions is not aligned to industry‘s
  • Limited number of qualified

In order to address training needs, master trainers drawn from Training and Production Center for Shoe Industry (TPCSI), Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI), Kenya Industrial Research Development Institute (KIRDI) and Leather Articles Entrepreneurs Association (LAEA) were trained in India on the use of multi media. In turn, these trainees trained 20 trainers (from their respective institutions) in order to create a size-able pool of trained trainers who can impart skill trainings. A multi media based training content was provided to the training institutions to enable them provide industry oriented and practical short term courses. 10 change agents and 150 collectors, curers and producers were trained on best practices for reduction in defects,  improved  curing,  ripping  and  flaying  practices by experts from the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) India. This was done based on the finding that one of the key challenges facing the leather sector was raw material quality which impacts on the quality of finished leather and leather products.

10 selected small and medium size tannery represent- atives were trained on clean and efficient leather pro- cessing technology (e.g. chrome water less tanning) by experts from CLRI (India).


As the Project came to a close, the following were the recommendations:-

  • More awareness programmes should be conducted by training institutions i.e. Animal Health and Industry Training Institute (AHITI) on the importance of good quality hides and
  • Technology upgrade programme for tanners is required to enable them develop quality leather that is relevant to the needs of leather products manufactured
  • Replicate Indian triple helix model of; Industry Academia-Research to facilitate:- technology transfer, build research capability and establish linkage to strengthen academic programmes in leather and leather
  • Capacity building of training institutions in order to ensure sustainability of training
  • KLDC in collaboration with relevant agencies to look into ways of ensuring that tanneries comply with regulations on cleaner

Sri Lanka explores opportunities in Kenya’s Leather Industry.

A delegation from Sri Lanka led by the Ag. High Commissioner paid a courtesy call to the Kenya Leather Development Council (KLDC Office) in March, 2018. The aim of this meeting was to explore opportunities for Sri Lanka in the Kenyan Market.

Sri Lankan Statement of Interest

According to DI (the company represented by the Delegation), the company produces 35,000 pairs of shoes per month. The company specializes in production of military and safety boots, belts, bags and other accessories. The company seeks to establish partnerships with Kenya in the following areas:-

  • Establishment of a strong supply chain network with Ken- ya especially in the area of wet blue and finished
  • Opening of leather products outlets in Nairobi—This will assist in creation of employment for Kenya‘s

The head of delegation observed that DI is currently targeting the youth in its expansion plans and Kenya is a strategic mar- ket due to its youthful population and increase in middle in- come earners.

Kenya’s Statement of Proposal

On the other hand, the Kenyan delegation comprising of tanners, footwear and leather goods entrepreneurs put forward that:-

  • They look forward to partner with Sri Lanka in the areas of Technology Transfer in order to upscale production of quality leather and leather products in
  • Access to Accessories—Sri Lanka is known in production of a wide range of soles as such, MSMEs would want to explore further on how they can partner with Sri Lanka on this
  • Capacity Building—Training is a critical aspect in the leather products chain and MSMEs would wish to explore how Sri Lanka could partner with Kenya to grow its skills base in leather

Mr. Yassin Awale (Advisor on Leather to Cabinet Secretary) observed that Kenya is home to a variety of International Brands including; Philips, Essar, and is a critical strategic market as it opens doors to the EAC and COMESA As such, DI would benefit a lot by establishing a base in Kenya for their operations in East and the wider African region.

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