Ethiopia has unveiled Africa’s largest industrial park in the city of Hawassa 275km southeast of the capital Addis Ababa – one of several it is building or planning to build all over the country.
The project is inspired by China and the Hawassa Industrial Park (HIP) – like many equivalents in China – will be dedicated solely to just one sector, textile and apparel.
At 1.3 million square meters it is the biggest in Africa and also the largest dedicated solely to export, said Zemdeneh Negatu, managing partner at Ernst and Young international consultancy firm.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony last week, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the manufacturing sector’s share in Ethiopia’s gross domestic product (GDP) for many years stood at only 0.5 percent, showing the need for economic re-structuring if the country was to fulfil its economic promise.
Ethiopia’s economy, despite a period of rapid economic growth, still largely depends on agriculture. Volatile commodity prices, a severe drought, and political unrest have all curbed expansion.
The HIP has attracted 15 major manufacturing firms from China, Indonesia, the US, and Ethiopia itself. But Yuan Li, chairman of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) which designed and built the industrial park, says it has even wider significance.
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