With the aim of scaling up the current 5.4 per cent share of the manufacturing sector in the GDP to 8 per cent by 2020, Ethiopia has been working around the clock to expand industrial parks.
The parks that have been built across the country are expected to create conducive manufacturing environment both for local and foreign investors.
The rationale behind the development of industrial parks is to improving export, creating jobs and speeding up technology transfer, Sisay Gemechu, Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC) CEO with Rank of State Minister told The Ethiopian Herald.
The country's move to expand industrial parks and other infrastructural facilities has drawn the attention of gigantic companies. "Various international companies have already shown strong interest to set their foot into the industrial parks," Sisay said.
The industrial parks are central to achieving the nation's goal of materializing industry-led economy by 2025. According to Sisay, the construction of the ongoing industrial parks would be completed within a year.
The companies in the parks would produce high quality and brand products that would penetrate into the international market. This would make the country one of the leading exporters of light manufacturing products in the continent in the near future, he said.
Increasing the amount of processed product is very essential to earn foreign currency and reduce unemployment.
The profit from the parks would help to installing state-of-the-art machineries that facilitate technology transfer and increases productivity.
Access to reliable and stable utility in the parks is also essential in making the firms efficient to produce quantity with quality and meet international demand.
Currently, Bole Lemmi and Hawassa Industrial parks have become operational. The Bole Lemmi Industrial Park has generated about 20 million USD and created 12,000 jobs this year only. But this number would jump to 30,000 when it fully gets operational.
Bole Lemmi Industrial Park has become operational three years ago. Since its commencement, 11 companies from various countries including China, Taiwan, India, Bangladesh and Korea are engaged in garment and leather production. Of which 10 companies have already started exporting their products.
According to Bole Lemmi Industrial Park Director's Representative Solomon Semunigus, currently the park is utilizing 60 per cent of its production capacity and generating 2 million USD per month.
All 20 sheds of the park that have been constructed in the first phase are already owned by the companies, but efforts are underway to expanding Bole Lemmi 2 which is believed to be operational the coming year, he said.
While the Bole Lemmi Industrial Park is the first to be operational and shows progress, other industrial parks are also becoming operational and gaining momentum.
Though being open for operation hot on the heels of Bole Lemmi park, Hawassa Industrial Park appears symbolic and became successful in attracting global companies within a short period of time.
Then again, some companies have already started operation in the Hawassa Industrial Park, while others are in the process and installing machineries. This park is expected to create 60, 000 jobs while fully operational.
Ethiopian Investment Commission Industrial Parks Sector Deputy Commissioner Dr. Belachew Mekuria said that currently the Hawassa Industrial Park has already created 7000 jobs and it would rise to 10,000 by the end of this month.
While the park has 17 companies engaged in the textile industry, of which six companies each, earn 1 million birr per month. When it goes fully operational, it would supply 50 containers textile products per day, he added.
Lelisa Markos, Hawasa Industrial Park Project Coordinator said that about 32 shades were constructed in the first phase.
All the shades were taken over by companies from China, French, Indonesia, Hong Kong and other countries engaged in garment and textile.
In the second phase, additional 15 shades are under construction. They are expected to create better opportunity for local investors. When the park gets into operation with full swing, it would generate 1 billion dollars per annum.
While the country has already seen progress in materializing the industry parks, the best is yet to come, with the remaining 11 parks to get into operation within a year.