The first East African Community (EAC) exhibition of Military Industries’ products and services took place in Kisumu Shipyard from 4 to 6 April 2023 and was attended by EAC General and Senior Officers with the Chief Guest being Major General Bernard Waliaula representing the KDF Chief of Defence Forces, General Robert Kibochi. EAC Partner States had delegations comprised of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Defence Liaison Officers (DLOs) of the respective States including South Sudan were in attendance.
Shared utilization of military industrial facilities not only offers opportunities for technology, skills, knowledge, and best practices transfer among the EAC partner states but is also are important Strategic Regional Asset. The Defence Exhibition gave an opportunity for several Defence Industries of the Republic of Kenya to showcase their products and services. They included Kenya Shipyards Limited (KSL), Kenya Meat Commission (KMC), Kenya Ordinance Factories Corporation (KOFC), and Defence Food Production and Processing Factory (DFPPF).
To enhance national food security, Defence Food Production and Processing Factory (DFPPF) showcased processed agricultural products. These products with longer shell life and reduced volume included a variety of dehydrated vegetables (kale, cabbages, spinach, potatoes, carrots, and onions).
The Kenya Shipyards Limited which was incorporated on 29 September 2020 showcased 106m long drydock capable of drydocking 10,000 Dwt, the 100m long Wagon Ferry construction which is at the final stages of outfitting as well as the several Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) vessels at the repair and maintenance section which are undergoing repairs and maintenance. The Shipyard tour given to the delegates showcased the construction of Jetties, Linkspan, land reclamation, dredging, pilling, and civil and modular maritime construction works of assorted onshore and offshore structures and facilities.
Kenya Meat Commission showcased value additions on meat and meat products such as African sausages (Mutura), corned beef, beef sausages, beef burger, and various products of minced meat. Some of the by-products showcased included meat and bone meal and blood meal among others. Kenya Ordinance Factory Corporation (KOFC) was able to display the locally manufactured Small Arms ammunition, spare parts for firearms, and military equipment which are supplied to various Security Agencies. Other products showcased included bottled water, maize flour, animal feeds, and bakery products.
On Defence facilities offered for joint utilization, the Republic of Burundi presented the recently acquired equipment by Muzinda Engineering Battalion to be used in the construction of public buildings, and roads, drilling for water wells, and production of briquettes for cooking among others. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) offered for joint utilization AFRIDEX which is an organization mandated to manufacture explosives, arms, ammunition, and other related products and services, for both civilian and military use.
Further, the Republic of Rwanda offered joint utilization of the Rwanda Engineering and Manufacturing Corporation (REMCO), HORIZON Construction, AFRIPRECAST, and AGroPY which are all affiliated with the Rwanda Ministry of Defense. These institutions not only promote Made in Rwanda products but also act as anchors for the repair and maintenance of equipment for critical facilities and infrastructure development.
The Republic of Uganda offered for joint utilization Luwero Industries Ltd (LIL) which provides both Defence and civilian-centered Research and Development (R&D) activities. Other services offered included maintenance, repair, overhaul (MRO), and upgrade of Mi series Helicopters, production of diesel, and electric buses, and carpentry equipment among others. Finally, the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) offered for joint utilization the National Service Corporation Sole ‘Shirika la Uzalishaji Mali la Jeshi la Kujenga Taifa’ which manufactures garments, furniture and water bottling and offers clearing and forwarding services among others. Moreover, Tanzania Automotive Technology Center (TATC) perform several activities among them engineering design and innovation in the manufacture of firefighting vehicles, and armored reconnaissance vehicles and Tanzania’s Mzinga Corporation manufactures military ammunition and maintenance of small arms.