Types of industries in Kenya

man wearing blue hat spraying yellow flowers on field

The main types of industries found in Kenya include:

Primary or processing industries




Are also known as extractive industries

Are involved in the first stage of changing raw materials from one form to another that is more useful

Produce goods used to make final products

Provide raw materials for secondary industries

Examples of primary industries in Kenya include

  • Mining of limestone at Bamburi and Athi River.
  • Fishing in Lake Victoria and Indian Ocean.
  • Extraction of forest products from various forests/lumbering.
  • Growing of agricultural crops e.g. sisal, cotton, sugar cane, tea, maize, tobacco,pyrethrum, fruits, vegetables.
  • Keeping of animals for milk, beef, skins




Secondary or manufacturing industries

Use raw materials derived from the primary industries

Change the raw materials into semi-processed or finished products

Examples of secondary or manufacturing industries in Kenya include

  • Coffee factories
  • Cotton ginneries
  • Steel rolling mills
  • Food processing,
  • Cigarette making,
  • Glass making,
  • Oil refineries,
  • Textiles,
  • Pharmaceuticals,
  • Paper and pulp
  • Fertilizer making,
  • Cement making.
  • Insecticide making




Secondary industries are further classified into heavy and light industry

heavy industries

Heavy industries manufacture heavy and bulky products

Involve heavy capital investment

Their production is a large scale

Examples include, ship building, car manufacturing and assembly, iron and steel rolling mills, paper and pulp among others




light industries

Light industries manufacture/process finished products that are less bulky/heavy

Use light raw materials e.g. textile, cosmetics, toiletries, food processing, printing, electronics

Involves fixing together of different products made in different industries to make valuable articles/items

Use imported raw materials to make articles that are not locally manufactured




In Kenya, they assemble motor vehicles, electronics, bicycles

Majorly located in urban areas

(c) Service or tertiary industries

Distribute commodities that have been produced in primary and secondary industries to consumers

Render supply services to finished products

Found in both rural and urban areas

Require little capital and space




Require specialised skills/skilled labour

Include medical, education, finance, trade, communication, banking, insurance, transport etc

(d) Cottage Industries

Involves making products using hands and simple tools especially in the homes

Items are made using locally available materials

Done on a small scale

Examples include pottery, wood carving, soapstone carving, weaving of baskets/mats, boat making, and scrap metal fabrication




In Kenya, Jua Kali is the most common and popular cottage industry Jua Kali industries

Relies on locally available materials and tools

Requires little capital

Products target local market

Are found in almost all urban centres




Main activity involves reprocessing of old materials to produce useful items