How Landy Industries Ltd is shaping Rwanda’s shoe industry

By Esther Muhozi
On 19 March 2024 at 11:31

Landy Industries Ltd, located in the Kigali Special Economic Zone in Rwanda, is gaining recognition for its production of plastic shoes, contributing to the "Made in Rwanda" initiative aimed at economic growth through industrial development.

This follows the 2011 policy to promote industrial growth, leading to a significant increase in industrial output value from 1.5 billion Rwandan Francs in 2019 to 3.2 billion Rwandan Francs in 2023.

The factory was established in 2018 by Chinese investors Hu Ting Tina and her husband Guo Jin Lei, choosing Rwanda for its security, investor support, and central location for easy export within the region.

Starting with just 15 employees in 2019, the workforce has now expanded to 1,300 Rwandans and 20 Chinese nationals, with a majority being women.

Despite the capacity to produce 150,000 pairs of shoes daily, current production stands at 90,000 pairs due to market demand.

Half of its market is in Rwanda, with the Democratic Republic of Congo consuming 30% of its output. Landy Industries Ltd also supplies boots to the Rwanda Defence Force, strengthening its commitment to supporting local manufacturing.

Annually, the factory produces plastic shoes valued at 18 million USD (over 23 billion Rwandan Francs).

The production relies heavily on modern machinery and imports basic materials from China, the USA, and South Korea, with a monthly electricity cost of 70 million Rwandan Francs.

The factory is divided into five sections, each specializing in different aspects of shoe production.

The first section uses polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and a mix of colors and special oils to produce boot soles, which are durable and waterproof.

Another section produces non-boot plastic footwear, utilizing ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) for a variety of colors without additional coloring agents.

In late 2021, a third section was added to make sandals and closed shoes, aiming to facilitate access to school shoes and sports footwear in Rwanda.

The top parts of these shoes are imported, with plans to localize production entirely within two years.

A fourth section combines the shoe tops with soles made of thermoplastic rubber (TPR), focusing on women’s footwear.

The final section serves as a warehouse for the finished products, ready for market distribution.

The Chinese Embassy in Rwanda supports such entrepreneurial efforts by Chinese nationals, aiming to enhance bilateral cooperation and improve the livelihoods of Rwandans.