The manufacturing industry, particularly the textile sector, in Ethiopia is laying a significant foundation to industrial development. It has been attracting celebrated and well known top international firms. Efforts are also exerted by the government to create an enabling environment in the country so as to maximize influx of investors to home who could invest on the sector. The government of Ethiopia believes that textile would benefit a large number of people and paves the path for nation to join middle income status in 2025.
Historical documents indicated that textile is one of the most preferable gateway for industrial development. It was one of the catalysts of the industrial revolution in both Germany and United Kingdom. Cognizant of that the Ethiopian government has been building industrial parks at different cities of the country. These emerging industrial parks are believed to enhance the textile investment and productivity of the country.
One of the industrial parks inaugurated so far is the Kombolcha Industrial Park. This park has got keen interests of leading textile companies as it was elaborated during the inauguration ceremony on 8th of July 2017.
There are various well distinguished International companies that have participating in the Kombolcha Industrial Park. Some of them are Carvico S.p.A, an Italian company globally known for its knit fabrics used in swimwear and sportswear; Trybus, a US-company engaged in the production of men’s suits and Pungkook Corporation, a South Korean company engaged in the manufacturing of bags.
“The site for the construction of the park was selected for its proximity to the port of Djibouti which opens easy access to export, availability of infrastructure and the hospitality of the people to investors,” Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said while addressing the participants of the inauguration ceremony.
These parks that have built in the country are believed to go operational, stimulate the economy, creates jobs and bring about structural change in the agrarian economy of the country.
It is known that there are about 194 medium and high level textile and apparel manufacturers gone operational so far throughout the country. Besides, the textile sector has created job opportunities to nearly 90,000 citizens. This is a significant sector in easing the problems of the youth who have been attending their education in that field. Above all, the textile sector secured hard currency revenue of 81 million USD in this fiscal year's past eleven months.
According to evidences displayed during the inauguration, the actual construction works on the Kombolcha Industrial Park took only about nine months. The textile industries in the country will be not only the driving forces to the Ethiopian Industrial Revolution but also revolutionized regional economy in the coming few years.
On top of the industry's innate behaviour of marketability that would suffice to ensure speedy growth, electric power abundance and a growing human and material capital are seen as advantages to reinforce textile industry in Ethiopia.
The industry is witnessing rapid growth, as a number of domestic and multinational firms are being engaged in productions of textile, garments and apparel for domestic and global markets. The sector would facilitate technology transfer and capacity development through training, and experience sharing. It is also considered as a springboard to boost the manufacturing sector and export trade.
One of the crucial issues in developing the textile sector is penetrating into the insanely competitive global market. This really requires the availability of strong domestic and international manufacturers. Therefore, the country needs to strengthen what it has already started to successfully make its way to the international market.
In fact, it is crucial to attract multinational companies. The coming of companies that have established their profile in the global market is so vital as the move marked a special status for the country creating wonder among the business community.
As these companies who have already beginning their production in the industrial parks will provide training to their newly recruited staff at different levels inside the country and abroad, a huge deal of knowledge and experience could be drawn from the operation that eventually guarantees an accumulated know-how for the intended industrial development.
The contribution of the manufacturing sector to the economy has been lagging behind in the past years as a result it barely creating job opportunities contrary to its potential. The sector will rehabilitate well and become one of the significant sectors in the country in accommodating a large number of job opportunities following the full swipe of the industrial parks.
It is a crucial time for Ethiopia to lay the grounds to transform its agrarian economy to industrial economy which is the ultimate ingredient of development. Previously, the country had been devoting on maximizing agricultural productivity. In doing so, the government has exerted a tremendous effort to utilize the available resources of the country mainly land and human labour.
Having designed the appropriate policies and strategies, the government and people of Ethiopia, in the last twenty six years, have managed to lay bases for the industrial sector through developing the agricultural sector and integrating it with the industry.
One of the crucial steps taken by the government, in this regard, is the integration of agricultural sector with that of the industrial sectors. The construction of the Sugar development projects is one of the important integrating factors of the two sectors.
Previously, different agro-industries were developed that lead to the current industrial parks' development. While developing those industries, efforts were made to integrate the productivity of the agricultural sector with the development of those industries.
Considering the previous developments as inputs for further economic development, the Ethiopian government has been building industrial parks that could facilitate its intention to transform the agrarian economy into the industrial economy.
While implementing this Ethiopia has given a serious attention to the textile sector because it is so important in transforming the manufacturing sector. Now the industrial parks are emerging. These will maximize the influx of investment to the country. As the same time, these parks could also create a large number of job opportunities to Ethiopians apart from the roles they would play in technology transfer.
BY TESFAYE LEMMA