The first Ethio International Leather Trade Fair took place at the Noah International Business Centre, Addis Ababa, December 7-10, 2000.

Organised by the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce, Habtewold International, Noah International Business Centre and the Tsewa International Business Centre, the first show had a total of 35, mainly domestic, exhibitors highlighting semi-finished and finished leathers, garments, footwear, leathergoods and even locally tanned leather furniture upholstery. A small number of international exhibitors from tanning, chemical and machinery supplier sectors from Italy and Spain also exhibited at the fair.

Ato Kassahun Ayele, Ethiopian minister for trade and industry, officially inaugurated the show. The theory behind the fair is to showcase the Ethiopian leather sector to the national government and business community in Ethiopia as well as the international leather sector. The domestic industry hopes to exploit their abundant supply of high quality hair sheep and goatskins to produce value added leather products and bring much needed foreign currency into the country. The EILTF marks the first steps towards the sector achieving this goal.

Amde Akalework, fair organiser and managing director, Habtewold International, told Leather: ‘The leather sector in Ethiopia needs more attention and we want to attract international companies to become involved in businesses here and to exchange ideas so that local manufacturers can take their production to a higher, more professional level.’

The organisers hope that the show will be held every one or two years. It also featured a fashion show highlighting finished garments, leathergoods and footwear manufactured locally by the Elico Group.

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