Ethiopia: Ambitions to become a global force in leather production

Addis Ababa: April 8, 2015 (FBC) - Ethiopia is home to the largest population of cattle in Africa. In recent years the country’s leather industry has attracted several foreign companies that have set up factories here.

For instance in 2012, Chinese footwear manufacturer Huajian Group opened a factory at the industrial zone outside Addis Ababa where it manufactures 6,000 pairs of shoes and boots per day.

“The industry has a big future,” says YigzawAssefa, chairman of the Ethiopian Leather Industries Association (ELIA) and CEO of Bahirdar Tannery.

As one of the government’s priority sectors, investors in leather enjoy incentives including duty exemptions on capital goods and construction materials, and five-plus years of an income tax holiday. Other positives of operating in Ethiopia are free access to US and EU markets as well as cheap labour and electricity.

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