By Dr. Temi, PhD
On 29th October 2018, the County Government escalated its commitment on the Keeping her promise under the able leadership of kitui Governor hon Charity Ngilu.
MAKE IN KITUI, a Critical Reflection of Kitui County Industrial dream Through The prism of India’s cottage and manufacturing industry.
Early this year, Governor Charity Ngilu was in India to attend the India Pulses Conclave, during which she was one of the key guest speakers on behalf of African pulses producers;
The conference had been organized through Supporting India Trade with Africa (SITA). SITA is a UN initiative started by the International Trade Centre -Geneva, Switzerland. Its sole objective is to support and promote trade and the capacity to trade between India and Africa.
Instead of ONLY attending and addressing the Pulses conference and flying back to Kenya, Governor Ngilu decided to benchmark a couple of her 5 Agenda Manifesto, with some real-life Indian experiences. Without digressing too much, there are a number of similarities between India and Kenya.
(a) Both are former British colonies.
(b) The Mombasa- Kampala Railway line was mainly built by Indian manual labor about 100 years ago.
(c) The Economies of both India and Kenya are heavily dependent on Agriculture.
(d) However, as far as the similarities of the two Countries conform:
(i) India has, over the last 50 years of her post-colonialism, invested very, very, heavily on Technology, Innovation and Applied Skills Development in her people, regardless of their academics;
(ii) A case in point is the Indian Leather Institute and Research Centre in Chennai.
The idea to establish the institute was mooted by Mahatma Gandhi (The Father of the Indian Nation in 1948).
(iii) Through the Institute, today exports of Indian leather products stand at USD. 6Billion with a similar amount being consumed locally.
(iv) The Center prides itself on (a) About 100 scientists; (b) 120 technical staff (c) Over 200 undergraduate students in Leather (e) 20 Postgraduate students (including Ph.D.) in leather and footwear.
(f) The Centre also offers several thousands of short courses on leather leading to certificates and diplomas in leather, footwear, and fashion design and is affiliated to a number of Universities; locally and internationally.
(g) The Centre is the one behind the emerging Ethiopian Leather Industry (This is a story I shall revisit later).
Another manufacturing facility Governor Ngilu visited was the Brandix Textile and Apparels Centre;
(a) Located in Visakhapatnam, the regional capital city of Adra -Pradesh State. Brandix employs a whopping Sixteen thousand (16,000) people on a full-time basis, of whom 95% are Women;
(b) Nearly all of the 16,000 Women workers are school dropouts.
(c) Governor Ngilu and her entourage were received at the Brandix facility by the top management team led by Mr. Utitah -The Group Human Resources Director and Mr. Raju -The Head of Operations.
(d) Brandix- India is a USD. 1 Billion Investment, and specializes in making women innerwear (panties and bras) and men’s vests;
(e) Located on a 1,000 acre, Special Economic Zone (SEZ), with 250 acres, the facility has been described by experts as the epitome of Vertical and Horizontal Value Chain/Value Addition and Integration.
Hardly 10 years ago, the land where Brandix stands today was just ordinary, rural farmland of no economic value.
Today, the story of Vishakapatnam is different. It’s the place of choice for every top designer in the world fashion.
10 Years ago, the Chief Minister of Adra Pradesh decided that the time had come for industries to go to the villagers and not the villagers to go to the big cities. Governor Ngilu on her part has made it clear that it’s ONLY through adding value to our goods and services in Kitui that the people of this great County are going to sustainably and with dignity get out of poverty and shared hopelessness.
Recently, I overheard a conversation between Prof. Muluvi and Governor Ngilu. Both have vowed to equip every willing Kitui person with applied skills with the view to ensuring that each individual sustainably live a dignified life;
“A university is as good as useless if it’s not able to positively and directly impact on the lives of the community where its domiciled” concluded Prof. Muluvi, with a broad smile on his face… I totally, totally concur with these wise sentiments by the wise Professor.
Its, therefore, up to each and every well-meaning Kitui person and indeed all the people of goodwill to come forth and plugin.
For truly, Kitui is on the rise…