Tanzania’s President John Magufuli on Thursday launched a 136 billion Tanzanian shillings (about US$59M) leather factory in Kilimanjaro region, saying the new facility will end importation of leather goods.
The Kilimanjaro International Leather Industries Company Limited is a joint venture between the Public Service Social Security Fund (PSSSF) and the Prisons Corporation Sole, which is constructed by Toscana Machine Calzature (TMC), an Italian leather firm.
Speaking shortly before he inaugurated the factory, Magufuli said construction of the facility will help to expand the market for hides and skins in the east African nation.
“Livestock keepers are throwing away hides and skins of their animals for lack of markets. With the construction of the new leather factory this will now be history,” he said.
In Africa, Tanzania has the second largest herd of livestock after Ethiopia, and produces 3.9 million bovine hides, 2.5 million goat skins and 2.3 million sheep skins annually.
Magufuli said Tanzania’s demand for shoes stood at 54 million pairs annually while the country’s five leather industries were producing a total of 1.715 million pairs each year.
“In the next one to two years I hope Tanzanians will stop wearing imported shoes. We should start cultivating the habit of buying locally made goods,” said the president.
Hosea Kashimba, PSSSF director general, said the initial production capacity for the new factory was 1.2 million pairs of shoes annually and 184,500 pieces of other leather products, including belts and wallets.
Kashimba said the factory has created 3,000 direct jobs and 7,000 indirect jobs.
Statistics from the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries show that Tanzania has 25 million cattle and 16.7 million goats.