Starting operations later this year, the factory will produce 7.8 billion pellets of chewing gum annually to grow Mars’s market share in Kenya and the region.
The Wrigley’s facility in Kenya, is the only one in Africa serving East African countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
The company made the announcement after board member Victoria Mars met the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, Adan Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Cooperatives and senior government officials at State House, Nairobi.
She briefed the president on initiatives undertaken by the company to expand its operations in the region and provide social and economic opportunities for Kenyans, including an entrepreneur programme, Maua, which currently has over 700 entrepreneurs.
“Your goal to boost local manufacturing capacity is timely and offers a great opportunity to expand employment and job creation for Kenyans, while cementing the country’s position as a key industrial hub in Africa,” said Mars.
“Wrigley is keen on growing and developing our business here and contributing to this noble objective.”
Expanded value chain
She added the factory would not only create jobs but provide opportunities for small and medium enterprises through its expanded value chain.
Mars assured the president that Wrigley is committed to working with the government of Kenya and being a part of the country’s growth as a manufacturing hub.
She added Mars was actively supporting many social and economic initiatives to expand employment and business opportunities for Kenyans, especially in low-income and rural areas including the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming; Ethical Tea Partnership; and Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA).
At the meeting President Kenyatta reaffirmed his support for local and international firms investing in local manufacturing.
He said the private sector has a pivotal role to play in the country’s quest to create more jobs for Kenyans and improve Kenya’s competitiveness in the global economy through a robust manufacturing sector and Mars Incorporated will accelerate the Big Four Pillars for growth.
He called on the company to take advantage of the recently adopted agreement to establish a continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) to increase its production to serve African countries.
The President also commended the company for its initiative in Mt Elgon where it is supporting 20,000 dairy farmers.
Wrigley opened its first factory in Kenya in 1972, which is the multi-national’s only manufacturing plant in Africa.