NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) footwear production
deficit is due to lack of effective national policies required to promote local
production, officials said on Friday.
Leather and Leather Products Institute (LLPI) Executive Director Professor
Mwinyikione Mwinyihija told Xinhua in Nairobi that the 19-member trading bloc
currently has an annual production deficit of 200 million pairs of shoes.
“Due to lack
of effective policies to facilitate a vibrant leather processing industry,
COMESA is forced to rely on imports in order to meet growing demand,” Mwinyihija
He noted that
countries such as Kenya used to have vibrant footwear industries but
liberalization of the sector led to a decline of the sector as a result of
the trading bloc, local producers also face stiff competition from second hands
shoes imported into the region.
said that the region is an importer of footwear despite having abundant
livestock which is a raw material for the leather industry.
raw hides and skins is still common which is denying the region the ability to
develop a vibrant leather processing industry,” he said.
is currently conducting skills development training programs for each member
state so as to improve their capacity in the leather sector.
“The aim is
for the local footwear industry to adhere to standards so their products can
compete with international market,” he said.
bloc has completed a baseline survey for nine countries in the COMESA region
that will identify the deficit areas in their supply chain.
Mwinyihija, Ethiopia has the most developed footwear industry in the trading
bloc but most of its exports are directed to the more lucrative U.S. and EU