12 February 2016

Ethiopia: Assuring Textile Industries Competitiveness, Sustainability


Ethiopia has a huge potential to build and replicate a textile industry which has the capacity of hastening the transformation from the agriculture led economy to the industry driven one. However, although the country has a conducive economic and tax payment environment, security of investment and land availability, compared to its potential resources, the nation has not yet highly benefited. But, the textile industry is believed to be a bridge for economic development and making Ethiopia Africa's textile industry hub.

To this effect, increasing the sustainability of Ethiopia's Textile and Garment Industry has a predominant significance in fostering the competitiveness of the country's textile industry, in assuring employment, in ensuring economic development and in earning foreign currency among others things.

The Ethiopian cotton, textile and garment sector is one of the key manufacturing industries prioritized by the government and expected to substantially boost performance in the second GTP. Hence, according to recent information, it is expected to generate about a billion USD by the end of GTP II period. Hence, nowadays, the government is aggressively working to streamline, improve, support and expand the textile industry both in the domestic and foreign markets so as to emerge competitive at the international markets. It is also highly engaged in industrial parks construction in the different parts of the country.

Nowadays, the whole textile industries and their value chains are exhibiting change for the better. Besides, the industry is believed to be one of the first steps into industrialization and creating opportunities for employment and increasing international and global trade. Because, increased integration into the global economy is one of the best ways for developing the nation, improving the standards of living and reducing poverty levels through economic expansion, job creation among others things.

To this effect, the government has given due attention to ensuring the sector's competitiveness and sustainable growth in textile and garment sector to guarantee high social and environmental standards and effective skill development.

The ecological potential for the the abundant production of cotton, the availability of manpower, the cheapness cost of production and investment coupled with export incentives provided by the government create conducive atmosphere to invest in Ethiopia in the sector. The improved infrastructure networks including the newly constructed railway line, the establishment of support institutions are the tools that render the Ethiopian textile industry competitive in the global markets.

The government should jointly work with the stakeholders hand in gloves to turn Ethiopia's cotton, textile and garment industry into one of the most important global market networks in the textile business. But particular focus has to be given to attracting investment, quality cotton production and marketing capabilities.

Furthermore, the implementation of social and environmental standards across value chains, strengthening skill development for qualified personnel, as well as promoting local and sustainable cotton production as backbones of strong textile and garment industry are also additional focal points. Hence, sustainability is an issue that needs to be considered in the whole textile value chain. Sector actors do not only focus on quality. Not only in improving livelihoods but also it is a prerequisite for sustained growth of Ethiopian businesses and the sector at large. Moreover, putting adequate social and environmental standards are key to sustain the country's endeavours in the long run and to access export markets.

However, gaps witnessed in logistics, marketing, leadership capacity and partners support, among others, are some of the current challenges that hinder the sector from becoming competitive.

In sum, creating vibrant textile and garment sector is helpful in playing a leading role to sustain the growth and development of the manufacturing industry. But their is a call for bridging the gap by continuous capacity building, creating market linkages and introducing new technologies.


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