President Kenyatta on Thursday officially launched a new government small arms factory in Ruiru, Kiambu County.
The Sh4 billion facility has a single-shift annual production capacity of 12,000 assault rifles and procures 60 percent of its components from local sources.
Speaking during the unveiling ceremony, Kenyatta said the factory, which is part of a broad multi-agency national security industries strategy, is in line with the Big Four Agenda and Vision 2030.
Uhuru said Kenya is keen on enhancing her self-reliance in security through local production of equipment and technologies, adding that the factory will lower the cost of acquiring weapons for Kenyan security agencies and create jobs for Kenyan youth.
“This groundbreaking initiative will allow us to lay the foundation for addressing the high cost of weapons acquisition, free us from the complex foreign export approval processes currently in place, provide Kenya with greater security sector independence and flexibility, and allow Kenya to design and produce high-quality weapons, customized to our unique needs and operating environments,” said Kenyatta.
He added: “I am also pleased to note that the diligence of our security organs has delivered this project well under budget, with the project having been completed at a cost of about Sh4 billion against private sector quotes of Sh15 billion, a saving of Sh11 billion."
Kenya plans to use the factory to create an arms manufacturing surplus that will transform the country into an exporter of security equipment.
“The company must continue to invest in research and development, skills and technology transfer, secure international sub-contracting, production under license, multinational co-development and co-production, and the use of intellectual property rights to secure designs and processes,” Kenyatta remarked.