In Brief

Norfund pumps Sh1.8 billion into Hela Clothing EPZ

Norfund, the Norwegian Investments Fund for developing countries, has availed $14 million to textile maker Hela Apparel Holdings to support its manufacturing business in Kenya and Tanzania in a large-scale job creation venture to further women’s economic participation in the region.

Hela Kenya, the local offshoot of Sri Lankan textile conglomerate Hela Group started in 2016 and has since become a big-time player accounting for approximately 20 percent of the country’s apparel exports, with a workforce of more than 4,000.

The firm said it will utilize the funding to automate processes and strengthen supply chain partnerships in Kenya and Tanzania, making the company’s products more competitive in the global market.

“Given the increasingly unpredictable global environment, establishing long-term financing relationships with strategic partners who share our vision for Africa as a global apparel sourcing hub plays a critical role in ensuring the envisioned plans for growth are realized.

Hela’s African operations provide livelihoods to thousands of people, and our continued growth as a manufacturer will help us continue to strengthen and empower many communities across the globe. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Norfund for their partnership and support towards the organisation’s vision,” said A R Rasiah, Chairman of Hela Apparel Holdings.

Norfund regional director William Nyaoke said East Africa could rightly exploit the apparel and textile industry to stamp out poverty through the industrial-scale employment opportunities the sector can spawn.

“We see great opportunities in contributing to large-scale job creation in East Africa by investing in the apparel and textile industry, in line with our goal of building sustainable businesses to combat poverty.

“We have been impressed with what Hela has already delivered through its investments in East Africa and are confident that this partnership will go a long way in helping Hela create more employment opportunities primarily for low-skilled women and those vulnerable in society who struggle to find such opportunities. We look forward to a fruitful partnership in the coming years,” said Mr Nyaoke.

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