Kenya plans to promote local steel production in order to save foreign exchange used for imports, officials said on Friday.
Betty Maina, principal secretary of Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, told a steel forum in Nairobi that Kenya spent about 97 billion shillings ( about 970 million U.S. dollars) on importation of steel in 2018.
"We are currently doing a feasibility study to determine the viability of developing a local Integrated Steel Mill through a public private partnership in order to reduce reliance on imports of iron," Maina said during the iron and steel marketers forum.
Government data indicates that currently the annual consumption of steel is above 1.6 million tonnes.
Maina said that the iron and steel industry in Kenya forms about 13 percent of the manufacturing sector, which in turn contributes significantly to the gross domestic product.
She said that steel is the backbone of economic activity of any country and the per capita steel consumption is an internationally recognized indicator of the level of development of any country.
The Kenyan official said the local steel industry is heavily dependent on imported raw materials, as no local sources have been developed to date.
According to Maina, the local deposits of iron ore and coal, which are the raw materials for the production of iron have been identified in several locations in the country but have not attracted commercial interest.
NAIROBI, May 3 (Xinhua)