10 August 2018

Ethiopia: More Support to Small, Medium Enterprises

The manufacturing industry has received due priority to transform the country's agriculture-led economy to industry-led one.

The industry sector has a vital role to play in lifting the country to middle income economy by 2025.

In fact the sector creates ample jobs and generates hefty foreign currency. Besides helping in cutting the cost of import expenditure, the sector is essential in expanding the economy.

In addition, the country aspires to be manufacturing hub in Africa. In this regard resource mobilization is fundamental to accomplish the goal. Investors are keen in investing on the sector.

Encouraging Small and Medium Manufacturing Industries (SMEs) which could absorb young entrepreneurs will help speed up the journey to ind ustrialization.

In all states and city admin istr ations, SMEs have been organized.

Mak Ong, District Head in Gambela State, had this to say: By engaging the youths in various manufacturing works, an invigorating result has been obtained in the state for instance."

In budget year 2010, the government has supported newly organized youths and the demand is increasing dramatically.

Similarly, west Gonder Zone Trade Industry and Urban Development Officer Honealem Ashagre said that in west Gonder the manufacturing sector is at the beginning stages.

The youth and investors are engaging in the agriculture, sesame manufacturing and sericulture. This activity is creating employment opportunity and bringing additional income for the local Issues while tackling challenges relating to bureaucracy, infrastructure.

But shortage of foreign currency and credit related problems have not been addressed yet.

However, problems relating with infrastructural facilities has been the major challenge of the enterprises.

He also indicated that there is a plan to improve the quality of products by creating reliable credit and market opportunity.

Creating awareness regarding domestic production quality is another option; hence, community social institutions like Idir and Affocha, could be considered as reliable channels.

Shimelis Tadesse, Zonal Officer in Gamo Gofa Trade and Industry Development, indicated that there is a need for organizing additional enterprises.

In five developmental based sectors [construction, urban farming, trade, manufacturing and service sector] more and more Enterprises have to be set up, he noted.

"But when one looks at the other areas such as dry goods, clothing, wood, metal, leather and leather products there are ample enterprises."

Shimels also lauded the efforts of some Enterprises that even transformed themselves into export phase, particularly those found in Hawassa and Arba Minch (South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples State), commenting that their experiences should be emulated.

"These firms have raised their confidence to the level of awarding product warranty to consumers."

The firms could share their best practices to others that have gaps both in management and product quality, he added.

Industry Minister Dr. Ambachew Mekonen clearly indicated the role of small and medium scale enterprises in expediting the industrialization aspiration of the country.

To him the mismatch between imported and manufactured products quality has to be narrowed. Besides, technological advancement has to be given more priority, he added. "There should be scientific solutions and experts' participation to solve the challenge regarding low quality product."

(The article was originally published in Addis Zemen)

TRANSLATED BY YESUF ENDRIS

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