As a jaw-dropping displays of genius towards the beginning of industrial transformation, Ethiopia has been throwing its full weight to the development of industrial parks building and inaugurating one after the other.
The huge projects are believed to have several multifaceted importance for the country. As asserted by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, the parks support the country to sustain the double digit economic growth and speed up economic and structural transformation.
The parks serve as an engine for Ethiopia's journey to bring about industry-led economy ultimately becoming Africa's manufacturing hub. The specialized industrial parks like Mekelle and Hawassa dedicated mainly to production of textile and apparel will make the country well placed to be one of the top producers at global level.
At the heart of these cutting-edge parks is the recently inaugurated Mekelle Industrial Park. The park which was inaugurated in July 9 2017 is one of these huge industrial parks, built on the basis of the very essence of the objectives aforementioned . The park with 100 million USD outlay is believed play own role in attaining the major goals of the country.
Situated in 75 hectare of land given by the Tigiray State, the park at the final stage of its appearance will be positioned on 1000 hectare of land. The park that has gone through nine month construction period, in consistency Ethiopia's dream, will specializes on the production of export oriented textile and apparel.
Zekeraias Woldehana, Project Coordinator of the park told journalists that the specialization will look for other products as the second and third phases construction is done. "We know that some other industrial parks like the one in Hawassa have also specialized on the same production. This decision came after a thorough inquiry of garment , market documents and the environment of international market arena" Zekeraias says.
Explaining about the strategic location of the park, Zekarias said that the industry is found on west of Mekelle, the socio-economic and political capital of the Tigray State, some 5 km far, adding he said "The strategic position considered the accessibility of the park to Ethiopian cross country rail way connection, land port and main road of Mekelle."
According to Zekarias, in its current potential, the park contains 15 shed that have three different sizes. Five shades are large-sized sheds covering 11,500 square meters. There are also six medium-sized sheds with 11,500 square meter area. The remaining four sheds are only 3000 meter large are so very small. 4 shades are 3000 meter large. "Of which the total 15 shades, 10 are given to four Bangladeshi companies. One 11,500 square meter shed and four 3000 square meter large sheds are on the processes of negotiation. When this is converted to percentage about 83 percent has been occupied" Zekeraias added.
The project coordinator also noted that the park has not yet started production but is utilizing its best potential to finish underground works to start exporting products and generating income. He affirmed that "All preparations are finalized according to the memorandum of understanding that was signed between the companies and Ethiopian Industrial Park Development Corporation and Ethiopian Investment Commission. Consequently, logistic issues, customs duty agreements, and tariff adjustments are soon to be finalized. Recruiting of workers and training in the industry is also on its process. The machineries required for production are shipped and after all this we are expecting the park to export its product in the coming three or four months."
The park is expected to create more than 20,000 jobs. It was learnt that currently recruitment process is underway with more than 30,000 people being selected for further qualifications and training. It is believed that the employees in addition to wages or salaries would be beneficiaries as they get skilled training on the operation of heavy industrial machineries.
The official website of the Industry Park Development Corporations stated that the park, in consistency with Ethiopia's effort to create green economy, has facilities for a zero-liquid-discharge standard. "Considering the inadequate water supply in the city, the park releases no water to rivers but recycle it for the total utilization of the industry again" adds Zekarias.
In his final comment on the sound management of the park, Zekarias further stated that the park administrations is closely working with the Tigray State, Industrial Park Development Corporation and Ethiopian investment commission to address possible challenges at early stages. For instance, Zekarias mentioned the fast collaborative hands of the state to provide land for the park construction, stone crusher and soil.
" Investigation was started after thorough study to reduce operation cost, as taking important lessons were very profitable following Mekelle Industry Park's construction after the other giant industrial park was finished at Hawassa" Zekarias finalized his comment .