Ethiopia: Chinese Contractor Ventures Into Ceramic Processing

CCCC has built an Industrial Park in Amhara Regional State

CCCC, the prominent Chinese construction company, has ventured into the manufacturing industry, opening a ceramic processing plant with 50 million dollars in investment.

CCCC Industrial Investment Holding Company Ltd opened Arerti Ceramic Manufacturing in Arerti, a town in Minjar Shenkora Wereda, Amhara Regional State, 53Km from Modjo-Hawassa Expressway.

Resting on 15ha of land, the plant is expected to be fully operational in mid-September with a production capacity of processing 20,000Sqm of tiles a day.

Under construction for 14 months, the company started trial production in June, processing 10,000Sqm to 15,000Sqm of floor ceramics a day and currently employs 450 people.

Arerti, which plans to export its products to East African countries, gets its raw materials from a local supplier and will use limestone, clingstone, feldspars and red sand, as an input in its production of ceramics.

The factory produces four different sizes of floor ceramics and aims to diversify its products by manufacturing polished tiles and sanitary potteries with accessories and supply them to hotels, commercial buildings and construction projects.

The construction of the plant, which involved 700 people, was undertaken by several subcontractors, while Jdaw Consulting Architects & Engineering supervised the construction of the plant. Jdaw, which was established in 2000, is also the same company that is supervising the construction of the headquarters of NIB Bank and the headquarters of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, the tallest skyscraper in the city.

The investment of the plant is part of the Chinese government's Belt & Road Initiative, according to Devin Li, board secretary of Arerti Industrial Park.

Arerti is owned by China Communications Construction Group, a prominent construction company which operates in 145 countries. It has been active in Ethiopia since 1998 and executed major construction projects such as the nation's first Addis Abeba-Adama Expressway, African Avenue [Bole Road], Addis Abeba Bole International Airport Expansion and Addis Abeba Ring Road.

Arerti Ceramics is the first investment of CCCC, which took 100ha of land in Amhara Regional State to set up an industrial park. Out of the total area, 30ha of it is designated for the ceramic plant. The company expects to lease the remaining space for 12 companies, which will be engaged in the production of construction inputs and garments.

The opening of the factory is welcomed by the country's ceramic users and traders.

Kumneger Getachew, deputy manager of EKT Trade & Investment Plc, a company engaged in the import and export business, believes that the opening of the plant will increase the affordability of the product in the market.

"When we order ceramics from Italy and Spain, it takes up to 80 days to get here," said Kumneger. "But the factory should give a priority for the quality of the product."

Henok Semaw, dean of Business & Economics at Haramaya University, believes that the opening of such investment in Ethiopia will have a significant contribution to the economy by substituting the imported ceramics and saving foreign currency.

"The investment will create job opportunities as well as help in the transfer knowledge," said Henok.

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