The formation of the Leather and Leather Products Institute (LLPI) was approved by the Preferential Trade Area (PTA) for Eastern and Southern African States in 1988 to fulfill its industrial objective to “support and develop the leather industries of the COMESA regions”.It was then established by the signing of the Charter by member States on 23rd November 1990.
All COMESA Member countries are eligible for LLPI membership and 17 of these signed the Charter establishing the Institute. At the moment there are only eight active members (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda Zambia, and Zimbabwe). The Institute is funded from assessed annual contributions of these member countries and other sources, including service charge fees, consultancy, grants and assistance obtained through projects prepared by the Institute to implement its mandated objectives.It is headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with its own office building commissioned in May 2007.
The Director, who is appointed by the Board of Directors, is the Principal Executive Officer of the LLPI and supervises the implementation of the decisions of the Board of Directors. He is assisted by three professional staff, two General Service staff, three support and two subordinate staff. Occasionally relevant consultants in different fields are recruited when the need arises to support activity implementation.
LLPI conducts its activities at member country level through sectoral institutions, known as Country Units, designated by the respective Governments to collaborate with the Institute. Currently the Country Units include the following:
- Leather Industry Development Institute (LIDI) of Ethiopia;
- Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI);
- Center for Support to SMEs in Rwanda (CAPMER);
- National Leather Technology Center (NLTC) of Sudan;
- Training and Common Facility Center (TCFC) of Uganda;
- Zambia Development Agency (ZDA)