Serial closure of big factories is bad news
Kenya faces a biting shortage of dry-cell batteries at the moment (see story page 19). This may not seem like a major problem for now, since most devices that were once battery-powered are available in rechargeable options.
However, the story behind this shortage is replicating itself in other industries and becoming a cause for concern. Entire factories are closing down, citing the high cost of operations, the dumping of cheap products on the local market, double taxation and better incentives in neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia.
This is alarming. First of all, there is a rise in construction of industrial parks in this country, which could become white elephants if there are no factories to occupy them.
Secondly, for any country to develop, it needs to build industries to create jobs and lower dependence on imports. If the government does not act on the serial closure of factories, many major ongoing infrastructure developments will go to waste.