Mwinyikione Mwinyihija1 and William Quiesenberry2

 

1Leather and Leather Products Institute (LLPI-COMESA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

2SMC-University, School of Business, Department of Management, Transknowlogy Campus, Zug, Switzerland

Corresponding author Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Accepted 07 November 2013

 

Abstract

 

The leather sector is one of the most lucrative agro based industry in the world. The hides, skins and leather sector is characterized with a long value chain with multiple socio-economic dimensions such as enhanced employability, creation of wealth and acts as a precursor towards rural development. However, Africa contrasts this observation irrespective of having 21% of the global livestock population. Notwithstanding, the continent also produces 14% of the hides and skins production and an estimated 3.5% of value added leather and leather products globally. In retrospect, total earnings for Africa translate to about $4billion annually in comparison to a global earning of $100billion from the leather sector. This scenario is indicative of the high losses, low value addition initiatives and unexplored opportunities that are eminent in the continent‘s leather industry. Dilemma in translating negatives such as unexplored opportunities (e.g. value addition, high demand of leather products, increased consumption per capita etc.) to positives (e.g. availability of raw materials, qualitative increase of population, improved regional and international markets etc.) forms the greatest ‘bottleneck’. Therefore, the inability to attain the potential accruals from the leather sector, denied Africa the opportunity to tackle on important socio-economic challenges such as employment, income generation, poverty alleviation and rural development. The review envisages that the solution to the challenges experienced lies in appropriate strategies, policy framework and prioritization by both the public and private sector in enhancing value addition initiatives in Africa.  

 

Keywords: Competitiveness, Employability, Leather sector, Sustainability, Value chain, Wealth creation

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