President William Ruto is expected to arrive in Kwale County to open Devki Steel Mills in Samburu, Kinango constituency, Africa’s second largest steel factory.
In an interview with Business Daily, billionaire businessman and Devki Group executive chairman, Narendra Raval noted that they spent Ksh 29 billion to set up the factory.
The factory seats on about 300 acres of land and it took Devki four years to set it up, making it the biggest in East and Central Africa thanks to its size.
” It is going to produce steel from iron ore. The capacity at the moment is 500,000 metric tonnes of steel, which can in future be improved to one million metric tonnes
“This is the biggest single investment in steel in Africa in two decades. We have got teething problems, but we are overcoming them and the plant is now stable,” Raval told Business Daily.
The tycoon noted that the plant is already in production, adding that it is producing its own electricity from the waste heat whose capacity is 55 megawatts.
“It is going to employ 2,500 people directly. Presently, there are 1,000 workers from the local area. In two months’ time, we will go to 2,500 workers,” Raval said.
Raval also highlighted the importance of the company which will be producing steel fillets and wire rod coils which have been imported from South Africa and China.
‘The plant is producing materials called steel fillets and wire rod coils. These are largely imported from South Africa and China. They will now be produced by Devki Steel Mills. This will save the country about Ksh42.35 billion in foreign exchange,” he said.
Raval added that steel companies like his will thrive in Kenya only if the government stops cheap imports.
“The growth of the steel industry is always based on the development of the country. Kenya is developing, infrastructure is developing and low-cost housing is coming. But this will not be sustained unless they stop imports
“Even if industries are here, people keep on importing and do not support local industries. Until that time when the industry is protected, we will not sustain local investments,” he said.