Ethiopia's leather and leather products industry is preparing for a bright future. The country has been facing different challenges while developing the sector for the past few decades. But the government has come up with new strategies and policy measures to stimulate the sector.
According to the Central Statistics Agency (CSA), Ethiopia is generously endowed with livestock resources. Its cattle population of more than 53 million, along with sheep and goat populations of 25.5 and 24.1 million respectively, put the country first in Africa. With an annual off-take rate of nearly 10 percent for cattle, 33 percent for sheep and 38 percent for goats, the country is endowed with enormous potential for cheap supply of skins and hides.
According to the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), the leather sector is one of the country’s leading manufacturing sectors. Lately Ethiopia has been exporting mainly finished leather followed by growing shoe exports. Other leather items including gloves, bags and small leather articles have a large potential for exponential growth. The recent expansion in leather gloves production is proof of existing capacity as well as the potential to export with a steady growth of volume and value. More than 75 domestic and foreign leather and leather product factories have invested in Ethiopia. Export of leather, which was 23 million USD in 2013, reached 133 million USD in 2018.
The Ethiopian government is currently working hard on developing specialised Industrial Parks (IPs) for textiles and garments.
"Ethiopia plans to make Modjo town of Oromia State the hub for leather industry and envisions to attract anchor companies' involvement thereby transforming the town into one of the state-of-the-art tannery centres in Africa," Industry State Minister Teka Gebreyesus said.
The Modjo leather hub is expected to create job opportunities for more than 30,000 Ethiopians. The project will also encourage the private sector and multinational investors contributions, necessary to develop the country's leather sector. More than 200 million USD is allocated to realise the project.