Chinese footwear company invests in Ethiopia9 March 2012
Two big names in the Chinese leather sector have announced that they will invest $2 billion in the Ethiopia, according to Capital. The 10-year deal, signed in January, would be a big boost to the Ethiopian sector and could create more than 100,000 jobs.
Under the deal, a light manufacturing zone would be established in Ethiopia, which could create employment for over 100,000 people, with an annual production turnover worth $4 billion. Representatives of the Chinese Huajian International Shoe company met with the Ethiopian prime minister last October, who expressed his country’s willingness to go ahead with the projected plan immediately.
The Chinese firm has started two production units in Ethiopia and started shoe production on January 5, 2012. Helen Hai, a Chinese Huajian International Shoe representative, announced during the 5th All Africa Leather Fair (AALF) inauguration ceremony that her company accepted the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s challenge and started production within three months and that work is steadily in the two units in this country, employing about 600 workers. The fair held in Addis Ababa played host to a number of high-end local and international products, including footwear, garments, leather goods, chemicals, at the Millennium Hall, from March 1-3. Over 185 local exhibitors and 37 from other countries were present at the fair.
Chinese Huajian International Shoe PLC, established two decades ago, signed a 10-year deal with the China Africa Development Fund, the largest Chinese equity firm in the continent. The company has become the largest manufacturer of ladies shoes in Ethiopia.
There has been a steady transformation in Ethiopia’s leather sector, which was demonstrated in some of the unique local products displayed at the AALF. The shoes manufactured by the Peacock shoe factory of the Dire Industries drew visitors at the show. Dire Industries Manager Biniam Bedada said the products would be sold to the local and export markets of the United States, Italy, Japan, China, and India.
However, Bedada said that the shortage of leather raw materials, power outages, and delay in the import of leather are often the roadblocks in the growth of the leather sector. The lack of hides and skins, lack of knowledge in handling sensitive skins, informal backyard killing are some of the reasons for the short supply of the raw material. Nevertheless, the situation is improving steadily.
Lauding the government’s encouragement to the leather sector and contribution from the private sector, Ethio-Leather Industries Ambassador Bruck Debebe said that the leather industry in the country was steadily progressing.