December 21 2003
ATHI RIVER, Kenya: Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki on Saturday officially opened the US$7.2 million Alltex plant in the Export Processing Zone at Athi River in the presence of Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili community.
Alltex is a state-of-the-art facility that has created employment for over 2,000 Kenyans, over 80% of them women.
The plant, one of the largest textile factories in the zone and the only one that is purpose-built, has set benchmarks in technology, training and productivity.
Its pioneering welfare and childcare facilities rank it as a regional industry leader. Alltex is a 100% export-oriented apparel-manufacturing unit created to benefit from access to the US$ 100 billion United States market for apparel made possible by US legislation.
On this occasion Aga Khan, who chairman of is also Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) said "investment decisions are based more on the prospects for better lives for the constituencies of people that will be impacted by the investments and their results rather than on bottom-line profitability."
He went on to situate this approach within the wider context of the historical role of the Ismaili Imamat for whom "the meaning of ‘quality of life’ extends to the entire ethical and social context in which people live, and not only to their material well-being measured over generation after generation."
"My government welcomes this investment," said President Kibaki, recognising the achievement represented by Alltex as well as the long-standing commitment of the Aga Khan and his institutions to the development of Kenya.
He said that a recent US$32 million equity injection by IPS’s shareholders "has provided a clear signal to investors that there is now a hospitable equivalent for investment in Kenya."
"It is also," the President continued, "in line with our aspiration of adding value to a wide range of products in the economy."
He cited as an example of the same approach, the way in which the cotton industry had been a major catalyst for the Asian tiger economies.