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Arms factory to make Kenya exporter of military hardware

By PSCU | April 9th 2021

President Uhuru Kenyatta during the commissioning of the Small Arms Factory at the National Security Industries at Ruiru, Kiambu County.

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday opened a new small arms factory in Ruiru, Kiambu County.

The Sh4 billion factory, with a single-shift annual production capacity of 12,000 assault rifles, is part of a broad multi-agency national security industries strategy.

The factory draws 60 per cent of its input from local sources.

The president said Kenya seeks to enhance her self-reliance in security through local production of equipment and technologies in line with the Big 4 Agenda and Vision 2030.

He said the arms factory will lower the cost of acquiring weapons for Kenya’s security agencies and establish a sustainable national security industrial base that provides jobs for the Kenyan youth.

“This ground-breaking 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,” President Kenyatta said at the unveiling ceremony.

“It will provide Kenya with greater security sector independence and flexibility, and allow Kenya to design and produce high-quality weapons, customised to our unique needs and operating environments.” 

He commended the multi-agency security team overseeing the project for setting up the self-sustaining factory at a fraction of the cost of what the open market had proposed.

“I am also pleased to note that the diligence of our security organs has delivered this project well under budget, at a cost of about Sh4 billion against private sector quotes of Sh15 billion, thus saving us Sh11 billion,” the president said.

Through the factory, he said Kenya plans to create a weapons manufacturing surplus that will transform the country into an exporter of security equipment.

“This will not only boost our balance of trade position, it will also create employment for thousands of Kenyans, in addition to creating skills and technology environment that will drive transformation in civilian industries,” he said.

He said the government’s decision to set up the factory was encouraged by Kenya’s success in the local manufacture of some of the equipment needed in the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As with pharmaceuticals, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and medical equipment generally; Kenya has identified a compelling urgency to create domestic production processes,” he said. 

“This also applies to the security sector equipment in order to free our country from the vagaries of international supply chain systems.”

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