Developing the Leather Sector in Kenya through Export Taxes: The Benefits of Defying the EU

Case Study accompanying The New Resource Grab (November 2010)

The government of Kenya has in recent years levied a 20 per cent and then 40 per cent export duty on raw hides and skins in order to develop the leather processing industry. The indications are that this policy has contributed to increasing the number of tanneries in the country, created seven thousand new jobs, increased incomes for another 40,000 people and boosted earnings from the sector by over €8 million, with the potential for much more. Despite this success, the EU is still calling for major restrictions on their use in Kenya as elsewhere. The leather sector in Kenya shows how a developing country can achieve benefits for its people by defying the EU’s ideological commitment to ‘free trade.’

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