The India International Textile Machinery Exhibition Society (ITME) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), aimed at building new opportunities for growth in the industry.
The networking program seeks to raise the share of the sector to Gross Domestic Product from the current 8.3 per cent to 15 per cent through Agro-Processing, Textiles and Apparels Leather Processing, Assembly of automotive components as well as electronics, Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, metals and engineering products for domestic and export markets.
Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina said the collaboration will create an environment, where Kenyan companies and business entities will get to interact, engage and network with ITME in an effort to create bilateral business relations amongst the two nations.
In a speech read on her behalf by the Ministry’s Deputy Director for Industries, Business Environment and Private Sector Development Patricia Aruwa, the CS noted that the Textiles and Apparel sector is an important contributor to Kenya’s overall economy.
“It is estimated to account for 6 per cent of the overall manufacturing sector and to contribute 0.6 per cent to Kenya’s GDP, with Kenya being a leading exporter in Africa and top exporter to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA),” said Ms. Maina.
The CS said ITME 2022, which is set for 8th to 13th December 2022 is unique in its kind of Exhibitions, as it strengthens the industry by escalating Textile Manufacturing, supporting in building State-of-the-Art manufacturing infrastructure by Technology upgradation, fostering Innovation, facilitating Exchange of Knowledge and encouraging Foreign Direct Investments and Joint Ventures.
She noted that Technology is a critical component and the need for East Africa to mirror the Sri Lankan model, whereby speed and automation are paramount for greater backward integration.
“We are grateful that ITME seeks to attract and bring players linked to the Kenyan Textile Industry, create an environment where Kenyan companies and business entities will get to interact, engage and network, thus building engagements and boosting economic growth,” she added.
The CS highlighted that Kenya is the largest apparel exporter for cut, make and trim (CMT) in the region, with the highest level of productivity.
She stated that the appetite for textiles technology upgradation seems to be largest in Kenya, with companies looking to upgrade their machinery across the textiles segment.
In Kenya, she added, garment-making machinery and related auxiliary machines are in highest demand, followed by finishing machinery consisting of printing and digital printing, washing and dyeing.
Maina said that Indian technology is better represented in Kenya, perhaps given the recent massive modernization of the Kenyan Rivatex East Africa Limited textiles mill, which now has the capacity to produce 70, 000 meters of fabric per day.
In his remarks, KNCCI President Richard Ngatia said it is a remarkable opportunity for both Kenyan and Indian Investors in the Textile and Manufacturing Industry to promote trade and investment for mutual benefit.
Mr. Ngatia urged private investors to take advantage of the MoU to increase their levels of investment in Manufacturing and Textile Industry.
“It is therefore our sole responsibility to ensure that we derive substantial benefit out of Upcoming Expo as Kenya aims to increase the industry investment from $350m to $2bn and create 500,000 cotton jobs and 100,000 new apparel jobs,” he said.
India ITME Chairman Mr. S Hari Shankar said India is the World’s second largest textile Industry and ITME 2022 brings maximum market opportunities to interact with the biggest and the best of the machinery manufactures in the Industry.
He said India ITME 2022 is expected to host more than 1500 exhibitors from Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and United States of America among others in 22 Chapters.
“I urge Kenyans to take advantage of the exhibition themed, ‘Explore the Soul of Textiles’ for it could mark a beginning of stronger Bilateral trade and Investment activities in the Textile sector, between India and Kenya,” said Shankar.
By Catherine Muindi