Manufacturing sheds in Jima Industrial Park remain closed following the disinterest of investors after Ethiopia lost its privileges under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Addisu Mamo, deputy CEO of the Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC), revealed that only one of the eight manufacturing sheds built in the park is currently occupied.
The Park, situated on 75 hectares of land in Oromia region, was inaugurated three years ago. It was constructed with close to USD 70 million and intended to generate 15,000 jobs.
The Chinese company Huajian subscribed to rent the entire industrial park at the time. Despite this, the company evacuated following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After Huajian left and Ethiopia was delisted from the AGOA privilege, there were no investors interested in joining the park,” said Shiferaw Solomon, deputy CEO of the Corporation.
Ethiopia lost the AGOA privilege due to human rights violations related to the conflict in northern Ethiopia. Following the peaceful resolution of the conflict, the Corporation is engaging in promotional endeavors.
Presently, Corporation officials are preparing to attract two new investors to join the Park. The incoming companies are engaged in the production of apparel and avocado oil. One of the investors has already begun equipment installation.
Following a visit to the Jima industrial park last week, the public enterprises standing committee of the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) stated that the Park must commence operations and meet its goals.
The standing committee also emphasized that the park’s full functionality requires the completion of necessary infrastructure. It also asserted that coordinated efforts by stakeholders are essential for attracting new investors.
The Jima industrial park was praised for its proximity to the region’s enormous potential for agro-processing industries. It is one of the Corporation’s 13 industrial parks that the corporation has developed and operates.