13 industrial parks constructed at a cost of USD 1.5 billion collectively exported USD 600 million over the past three years, disclosed the Ethiopian Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC). The figures indicate that the industrial parks registered a 40 percent return on investment.
Currently, around 24 government and privately built industrial parks are found throughout the country and some 90 investors have started to operate in the parks.
However, merely half of them are operational and create over 80,000 job opportunities, CEO of IPDC, Sandokan Debebe, told The Reporter.
A consultative meeting aimed at creating opportunities and boosting local investor involvement in industrial parks was held on Friday.
Majority of the industrial parks are home to many apparel and textile manufacturers mainly exporting apparel, textile, shoes, leather and leather products. As a result, other chemical and metal manufacturers have complained that the government is not giving due emphasis to other sectors.
According to Sandokan, the government is considering introducing an incentive to encourage domestic investors operate independently or form joint ventures to invest in industrial parks.
“The more local investors come, the less bureaucratic hurdles will be,” said Ethiopian Investment Commissioner, Lelise Neme. She also indicated the limited inclination of domestic investors to invest in industrial parks.
Ethiopia is constructing industrial parks across the country, part of a broad economic strategy, to make the country a light manufacturing hub in Africa by 2025.
In order to realize ease of investment flow, some of the industrial parks are located in close proximity with the 756-kms Ethiopia-Djibouti electrified rail line. Since being commissioned in January 2018, the railway has been hailed for boosting landlocked Ethiopia’s foreign trade.
Dire Dawa, Kombolcha, Adama and Semera are among the industrial parks built in close proximity with the electrified rail lines as part of linking logistics with the manufacturing hubs strategy of the government along with export-oriented investment endeavors.