Ethiopia’s three recently inaugurated Chinese-built industrial parks are attracting export-oriented foreign companies to the east African country’s textile and apparel production setting.
The three industrial parks, Hawassa, Mekelle and Kombolcha, were built as part of its efforts to become Africa’s manufacturing hub. Located in southern and northern Ethiopia, they have begun to attract renowned export-oriented foreign companies to Africa’s second populous nation.
The country has a plan to uplift its current close to 150 million U.S. dollars revenue from exporting textile and apparel materials to more than 1 billion dollars.
The Chinese-built Hawassa park, some 275 km south of the capital Addis Ababa, which is considered as Ethiopia’s flagship industrial park, has already started bringing in hard currency.
Among the companies that have started their production on its premises is the Hong Kong-based TAL Apparel.
According to Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute recent report, close to 1.5 million dollars is being earned in a month from export of textile and garments products from the Hawassa industrial park.
The east African country expects to generate one fourth of the targeted over 400 million U.S. dollars foreign currency for the current fiscal year from the Hawassa industrial park alone.
According to the Institute, eight factories are presently exporting their products abroad, while 10 other companies have set their plan to start export as of September.
Another Chinese-built industrial park, the Mekelle Industrial Park some 783 km north of Ethiopia’s capital, is also attracting a bulk of international companies.
The park, which is currently recruiting companies to its compound, has recently revealed that seven foreign companies have already secured shades to commence assembling textile and apparel producing factories.
Among the seven foreign textile and apparel companies granted their space inside the Mekelle Industrial Park are high-profile export-oriented companies from Bangladesh.
Kombolcha Industrial Park, which is also built by China Civil Engineering Corporation (CCECC), is also in the full swing attracting various foreign companies.
Trybus group, a textile and apparel materials producing company based in the United States, is the latest firm that showed an interest to assemble its factories on the premises of the recently inaugurated Kombolcha Industrial Park, some 252 km north of the capital.
Signing an agreement with the Ethiopian Investment commission earlier this week, the group has been granted 5,500 square meters of land to install its factory inside the Kombolcha industrial zone.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, speaking in connection with his country’s ambition to attract world-class exporters, said that Ethiopia’s favorable business environment is bringing a growing number of foreign investors claiming that the country “has attracted huge Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), despite the global decline.”
As Ethiopia is on the move to become Africa’s manufacturing powerhouse and a leading textile and apparel exporter, the government expects the three industrial parks to lure a great number of competitive foreign companies to its settings.
According to Xinhua, the country has budgeted more than 1 billion dollars for the construction of industrial parks in the second five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II) period, due effective from 2015 to 2020.