Kenya is the biggest and most advanced economy in east and central Africa. The country is mostly known for its tea and tourism industry. However East and Central Africa’s biggest economy has posted tremendous growth in the service sector, mainly boosted by rapid expansion in telecommunication industry.
Kenya is the birthplace of mobile money. The innovation is called M-Pesa. Kenyans use the service today to pay for water and electric and cable bills, as well as for their children’s schools. They can use it to make purchases at certain stores and can withdraw or deposit their money through a network of more than 2,000 sales points throughout the country.
Nairobi, Kenya’s largest city and capital, is also an extremely active place for geeks, entrepreneurs and activists. One of the meeting points is the iHub, a co-working space the offers a laboratory, a networking hub and a funding through its connected incubators and investment firms. The iHub is also associated with the birth of Ushahidi, the best-known African software platform, which allows users to create crowdsourced maps for reporting everything from voting fraud to locating aid stations during catastrophes.
The fashion and garment industry is however faced with hard to tackle challenges.
The influx of cheap imports from Asia and second hand garments from Western countries pose unfair competition to local producers. African producers cannot compete with more efficient and subsidized firms from Asian countries that are producing all kinds of products, capturing all markets at competitive prices.
In addition the lack of trained manpower, high cost of production, competition, unfavourable working conditions and lack of government support are problems facing the Kenyan apparel industry.
One of the few garments still produced are the traditional Kenyan Kikoys and the Massai shuka blankets which we are also offering on www.dubaruba.com. The traditional Massai shuka is usually worn by the young Massai warriors. The shuka is a basic piece of fabric that can be worn in a variety of ways. Usually it is tied over each shoulder with a third draped over the top. It was initially made out of animal skin, mostly cow hide that was then dyed with the red earth. Nowadays the main material used to make the shuka is cotton. The most common colour is a bright red, but blue, purple and orange shukas are also used by Massai men. The bright colours stand out in the dry grasslands in which the Massai live – hardly camouflage yet it affords them protection from predators.
Other made in Kenya products on our platform are the colourful Massai hand-woven carpets from a family that lives in Nairobis biggest slum Kibera and the beautiful necklaces by Kenyan-Italian designer Laura Paglieri. She combines hand batik dyed bone from Kenya with upcycled glass beads from Ghana and fine Italian enamel coloured brass chains.