Laikipia Growth Prospects: Numbers Dont Lie

The ongoing construction of County Aggregation and Industrial Park (CAIP) in Rumuruti has opened up bright new prospects for speedy economic growth spurt for Laikipia last witnessed in the 1960s and 1970s.
In W.W Rostows stages of economic development from Traditional Society, Pre-Condition for Take Off, Take-Off to Maturity and Mass Consumption phase, the steep increase of a multi-cultural population by influx of waves of migration has catapulted Laikipia from Traditional to current Take-Off phase in a short span of time.
The influx of small scale peasant farmers into Laikipia through land buying companies that bought out colonial settlers to settle their shareholders in 60s and 70s drastically transformed Laikipia from a sparsely populated backwater colonial enclave of not more than 66,506 people in 1969 population census, to some 218,957 people by 1989.
It is this influx that transformed the county into the modern robust and vibrant social-economic and political enterprise it is today within a generation.
In the last national population census, County Number 31 posted a population count of 518,560 people.
One of the latest indicators of how economically vibrant and robust Laikipia people are was captured in 2022/2023 FY when the county posted Ksh1.13 billion in own source revenues (OSR) for the first time ever, becoming the envy of peers in the Central Region Economic Bloc (CEREB) and beyond.
A distinct feature of this historic milestone emerges especially in comparison with peer counties that managed Ksh 1 billion plus own source revenue collections out of 47 counties, is that they have population sizes of over 1 million persons compared to Laikipias 518,560 people! They are also better endowed with natural resources to boot.
Drumming up support for CAIP, Laikipia Governor, H.E Joshua Irungu EGH, has repeatedly reiterated the ongoing construction of the County Aggregation and Industrial in Rumuruti as a game changer bound to drastically buoy Laikipia into the Take-Off stage economically riding on manufacturing and value addition.
The governor has already pledged his administration is planning installation of common user digital-precision leather measuring and cutting machines for local youth professionals to meet quality demands and tastes of the market by using digital technology.
The low hanging fruits prospects inherent in this new Laikipia are self-evident in the conception, location and objectives of CAIP, a joint project of the County Government of Laikipia and the National Government.
Taking Leather Manufacturing as one illustration among many industrial components inside the multi-faceted CAIP design easily explains how future of New Laikipia looks like:
First, Rumuruti, Laikipia in general, and neighboring counties of Nyeri, Meru, Samburu, Baringo, Isiolo, and entire North Rift and Upper Eastern falls smack in a leather producing belt than can easily tap into Eastern Uganda, Southern Ethiopia and South Sudan once value chains start taking shape and aligning themselves.
Two, Kenya imports upwards of ksh 40 billion worth of finished leather products per year (KNBS, 2021).
These range from military grade boots used by security forces, KDF, Kenya Police, NYS, Prisons, fashion products from belts, shoes, jackets, handbags etc.
Besides domestic market, export markets in the EAC, COMESA and beyond under Africa Continental Trade Agreement (AfCTA) are also growing with expanding middle class and mass consumption trends inherent in the influx of Western popular mass-consumerism franchises all over regional capitals.
If the Rumuruti CAIP Leather Manufacturing Park were to target only a fraction of ksh 40 billion per year slice, say ksh 2-3 billion in the next five years, the returns in economic fortunes across value chains from livestock farmers, hide and skin middlemen, transport, bulking etc are enormous.
The Leather Manufacturing is bound to attract other complimentary industries in the value chain among them glue, rubber soles, packaging and others.
Numbers dont lie, and Laikipia prospects for wealth and job creation can only get brighter, powered by CAIP, among others.

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