Chinese Ceramics Firm Boosts Kenya’s Affordable Housing Revolution

Under a bright, sunny sky, employees at KEDA (Kenya) Ceramics Company Limited, situated roughly 70 kilometers south of Nairobi’s hustle, bustled with packing vivid, multicolored cartons of floor tiles for shipping to customers.

A worker scrutinizes tiles set to go through ceramic inkjet printers at the KEDA ceramics facility in Kajiado County, Kenya, on May 17, 2024. (Xinhua/Li Yahui)

Under a bright, sunny sky, employees at KEDA (Kenya) Ceramics Company Limited, situated roughly 70 kilometers south of Nairobi’s hustle, bustled with packing vivid, multicolored cartons of floor tiles for shipping to customers.

Founded in ’92, the China-headquartered KEDA Industrial Group, involved in producing and selling construction machinery, collaborated with China’s Guangzhou Sunda back in 2016 to launch the KEDA ceramics plant in Kenya’s southern Kajiado County.

Li Ruiqin, KEDA (Kenya) Ceramics Company Limited’s big cheese, credited their investment in top-notch floor tiles with jumpstarting the local manufacturing industry, propelling economic growth and crafting jobs.

Li mentioned, planting a ceramic tile factory in these rural locales has birthed numerous economic perks, highlighting the spur in hotel and transport ventures since the factory’s arrival.

“As our footprint broadens in the Kenyan market, KEDA has stuck to local norms while diving into community projects like schools, roads, and water provision,” Li conveyed during a chat with Xinhua at the ceramics plant.

Li revealed KEDA set up two ceramic tile factories—one in Kajiado and another in Kisumu County—and a sanitary ware facility spanning 300 acres (roughly 1.2 million square meters).

Combined, these tile factories churn out a whopping 110,000 square meters of tiles daily, while the sanitary ware setup rolls out 4,500 pieces each day.

Looking ahead, they plan to thrust three to five more production lines into gear, snagging an extra 95 acres nearby and planning a solar-powered plant in Kajiado.

Li also pointed out KEDA’s commitment to training local youth, sending some to China for short-term courses, aligning with their corporate social responsibility credo.

“The three factories employ over 3,000 workers, 95% of whom are Kenyans, indirectly supporting over 50,000 lives,” Li stated.

With cutting-edge Chinese tech and strict green standards, KEDA prides itself on ecological mindfulness, recycling a hefty 400 cubic meters of water daily, as per company briefings.

Richard Okello, a 35-year-old supervisor at the factory, lauded KEDA’s use of Chinese tech in creating stellar floor tiles, which has aided Kenya’s affordable housing mission, upskilled local youth, and created employment.

“This firm has set up loads of jobs and a fresh model for sharing skills alongside blending new tech in tile-making,” Okello remarked. “In my books, Chinese companies rock production-wise. I’ve learned heaps about tile crafting from scratch to finish.”

Kenyan President William Ruto emphasized boosting the manufacturing sector’s share of GDP from 7% to 20% by 2030.

Plus, Ruto assured that the journey to affordable housing is on track, eyeing to erect 200,000 units annually.

John Misiore, a 26-year-old sorter at KEDA, noted the company’s flagship products like floor tiles had invigorated industrialization and modern home construction in Kenya.

Misiore, with a background in agricultural engineering, shared that KEDA’s input in skill and tech transfer to local youth has buoyed Kenya’s industry-centric growth, promising jobs and collective prosperity.

The company remains dedicated to sustainability, embracing top-notch practices in waste reduction and recycling, thus aiding Kenya’s shift towards a circular economy.

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