Ethiopia to launch four more industry parks within two years

bole lemiEthiopia, which wants to become a hub for light manufacturing industries, plans to build four industrial parks in the next two years investing up to $500 million in each, a senior government official said on Monday.

Offering cheap labor, improving power supply and transport infrastructure, the Horn of Africa country has made strides to attract low-end manufacturing businesses seeking new factory locations as wages soar in China.

It has so far finalized the construction of the 156-hectare Bole Lemi Industrial Zone south of Addis Ababa. Korean garment-maker Myungsung Textile Company and Taiwan's George Shoe Corporation have operations in the park, which is currently undergoing expansion work.

Another hub in Awassa, a 270-hectare site some 300 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, was set for completion in three months' time.

Trade and industry State Minister Tadesse Haile said studies have been finalized to enable the launch of four more parks in the eastern town of Dire Dawa, Kombolcha and Mekelle in the country's north, and Adama in the capital's south.

"It could cost $500 million per park. But the construction of industrial parks is a good attraction for investment," Haile told Reuters.

"Our target for the coming five years is to be a leader in light manufacturing industry in Africa. This is inevitable," he said.

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