(Ecofin Agency) - On April 8, Kenya inaugurated its very first firearms manufacturing plant. The launching ceremony took place in the presence of the Head of State himself, Uhuru Kenyatta.
The facility is located in the city of Ruiru and has an annual capacity of 12,000 weapons. It will run 60% with local raw materials. The output of this more than $37 million investment will mainly be used to equip the local security forces, helping them to better fight the growing security threat in the country.
With this investment, Kenya could in the long run become a gun exporter. Nairobi seeks, through this strategy, to reduce the costs of acquiring weapons on external markets. These costs have risen in recent years after terrorist attacks by the Islamist group al-Shabab, which prompted the authorities to strengthen the national internal security and defense against external aggression.
“This groundbreaking initiative will allow us to lay the foundation for addressing the high cost of weapons acquisition, free us from the complex foreign export approval processes currently in place, provide Kenya with greater security sector independence and flexibility, and allow Kenya to design and produce high-quality weapons, customized to our unique needs and operating environments,” President Kenyatta said.
Other countries, such as Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia, have also set up firearms manufacturing plants. In Kenya, the Ruiru factory will be the second specialized in the manufacture of military weapons. The first is the Kenya Ordnance Factories Corporation (KOFC), which opened in the town of Eldoret in 1997 and manufactures ammunition.
Moutiou Adjibi Nourou