NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday took the time himself to announce that East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) will be setting up a Sh15 billion state-of-the-art brewery in Kisumu for its Senator Keg, before once again hitting the campaign trail.
He built up to the announcement by highlighting a number of other major investments made across the country under his watch and being conscious to bring to bear their cross-regional nature.
“Today, Kajiado hosts the first ceramic tile manufacturing company in Kenya: Twyford Ceramics. Wrigley’s Sh6bn plant in Machakos is near completion, Bidco is setting up a Sh1.5 factory in Thika, Keroche Breweries recently opened a Sh5bn plant in Naivasha and Eldoret is now home to Kenya’s first-ever private Special Economic Zone with over Sh200bn in Foreign Direct Investment and over 100,000 jobs to follow.”
“Let me also mention that Sultan Hamud has the largest can manufacturer in Africa, GZI, and the leather city under construction in Machakos will employ 50,000 Kenyans once complete.”
Presenting the Sh15 billion investment as the latest shining example of Jubilee’s economic stewardship, President Kenyatta said it would result in 110,000 jobs; just a few days after he pledged to create 1.3 million jobs annually should he be re-elected.
Sentiments that received the endorsement of Diageo Plc’s Chief Executive Officer Ivan Menezes. “We had the confidence to make this investment because of the attractiveness of Kenya as an investment destination.”
“Ease of doing business has improved, the infrastructure getting built well,” he said.
Only on Monday, Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed – who was also present for Wednesday’s announcement being the concerned Minister – was tasked with enunciating the economic gains made under the Jubilee Administration.
“The average growth rate of the economies in Africa has been around 1.5 per cent. In other parts of the world, the growth has been near zero. But for us, we have registered steady, sustainable growth that has peaked to a high of 5.8 per cent and continuing. Fellow Kenyans that did not just happen by chance.”
The plant, President Kenyatta went on to say, would re-position Kenya’s small holder sorghum farmers in line with his government’s agri-business ambitions.
“According to projections, this plant alone will lead to increased utilisation of sorghum from the current 20,000 metric tonnes to around 40,000 in the next five years. Increased demand for sorghum will see the number of contracted farmers grow from 30,000 to around 45,000. As a result, gross additional farmer earnings are expected to reach over Sh6 billion annually over the next decade.”
According to President Kenyatta, the plant for which ground will be broken on July 16, will engage sorghum farmers from Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, Homa Bay, Tharaka Nithi, Kitui and Makueni.
Works on the plant which will sit on a 50-acre property in Kisumu are projected to take 18 months to complete.
President Kenyatta also took the opportunity to speak out against illicit brews days after his main rival in the August 8 presidential election, Raila Odinga, said he would legalise traditional brews.
“In passing, I want to thank Kenya Breweries for introducing Senator Keg, a safe, affordable beer that has helped us all fight the menace of illicit brews. This year, Treasury has done its part by introducing an 80 per cent remission for beers made from sorghum, millet and cassava. Quality brews such as Senator Keg will remain affordable for wananchi (the populace); and the makers and sellers of illicit brews will find life ever harder.”