Ethiopia, which produces about one lakh tonnes of cotton a year, is looking at investments from the Indian textile and clothing industry at its industrial parks and also to cultivate more cotton.
A delegation, including Bogale Feleke Temesgen, Ethiopian State Minister of Industry, and Sileshi Lemma Bekele, Director General of Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute, held meeting with members of Southern India Mills’ Association here on Friday. They had a similar meeting in Dindigul too.
According to Mr. Temesgen, Ethiopia has just about 176 textile units and produces one lakh tonnes of cotton a year. “With three million hectares of land, the potential is immense to increase cotton production,” he said.
Just 20 % of the three million ha is under cotton now and there is potential to increase it to 80 %. “We are here today to convince investors to come to Ethiopia,” he said.
Indian textile industry can grow cotton on the uncultivated land, set up units to produce yarn and other value added products. Some of the main countries evincing interest to invest in Ethiopian textile sector are China, India, Turkey, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy and the U.K. According to the World Investment Report 2016, Ethiopia stands next to Vietnam in attracting foreign direct investment in textiles. It offers power at competitive price and land on 60 to 80 years lease.
“We are aiming to generate 30 billion $ forex from textiles in the next 10 years. We have worked out what we need to do to achieve this. We need to attract investments,” added Mr. Bekele.
Close to 500 companies have taken licence to invest in different industries in Ethiopia, mostly in textiles. It plans to have over 150 companies in textiles by 2020.
Ethiopia is developing 13 industrial parks and four of them are operational. Indian companies such as Arvind have invested in some of these.
In most of these parks, the focus is on the textile and apparel sector. With a growing population, Ethiopia needs to create jobs and hence the focus on textiles, said Mr. Temesgen.