Quinton Marais, managing director of Rolfes Leather.

Rolfes Leather, a division of JSE listed, Rolfes Holdings, says the company will explore the beam-house market in Ethiopia this year. Specialists in leather tanning chemicals and solutions, Rolfes Leather will offer its extensive knowledge, skills and chemical range to this growing market.

Quintin Marais, managing director of the company says Ethiopia has the world’s fifth biggest cattle herd, making the potential leather market significantly bigger than the South African market. “We have been researching this market segment for the past decade and feel the timing is right for us to run beam-house trials. While Ethiopia has a large market, its quality of raw materials is mediocre. Our team is perfectly placed to improve these processes and assist the country to grow its leather market sector,” says Marais.

Ethiopia looks set to grow this industry through local tanneries and also welcomes foreign investment.

In 2015, the country expanded its export range including consumer-focused goods. Marais says that while these products sell, the biggest market for leather remains the automotive sector: “Locally, automotive is by far our biggest market sector and we have gained immense experience in the associated tanning processes. It is exciting to take this knowledge into Ethiopia and assist in growing that market.”

Rolfes Leather is currently targeting Namibia after which Marais says it will explore markets in Kenya and Tanzania. – Press release