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China Invests $500 Million in Kenyan Textile Industry

More firms are looking toward Africa to spend their investment dollars as the region becomes an increasingly prevalent manufacturing locale, and China’s Jiangsu Lianfa Textile Company is the latest to invest in the area.

Jiangsu has said it will invest $500 million to build a textile plant in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, according to CNBC Africa. The new plant, which will be one of the largest on the continent, will sit on a 50,000-acre cotton farm, and is expected to create more than 30,000 jobs.

According to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization and Enterprise Development Adan Mohammed, the plant is expected to produce $1.5 billion worth of goods each year, likely tripling the country’s annual textile goods production.

Kenya’s textile production posted 6.5% growth in 2013, owed mainly to manufacturing twine, cordage, rope and knitting while, CNBC Africa reported. In 2013, Kenya exported $308 million worth of knit and woven apparel, which accounted for 68 percent of the country’s total U.S.-bound exports.

Jiangsu has made other moves to tap into Africa, having recently revealed that it has completed pre-investment evaluations to build a textile factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and others in Uganda and Tanzania.

And China isn’t the only country investing in reviving Kenya’s textile sector. Last month, India signed a financing agreement with the Kenyan government to expand operations at its Rivatex East Africa Ltd at a cost of $89 million. Under the expansion plan, funded by the Export-Import Bank of India, the textile firm will receive new machinery to help boost production capacity.