Ethiopia sets sights on $30bn apparel exports

Ethiopia is raising the bar on its garment and textile ambitions, targeting exports worth $30 billion by 2025: a huge goal for a country whose annual shipments currently sit at just $115 million. Speaking for the first time about the plans, Dr Arkebe Oqubay, a minister and special advisor to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, shares the “bold vision” he believes will transform this East African nation into a compelling new sourcing hub for brands, retailers and their suppliers. “By 2025 we want to make Ethiopia the leading apparel and textile manufacturing hub in Africa capable of exporting up to $30 billion. This is the single, bold vision we have,” explains Dr Arkebe. “It is a challenge, but one we are confident we can achieve. We believe if Vietnam can do it, if Bangladesh can do it, Ethiopia can do it even better.” Dr Arkebe agrees the export vision of $30 billion by 2025 “is a very ambitious programme. It’s going to require a huge effort, and in order to achieve this we are working on multiple levels.” The first focus, he explains, has been on attracting high quality investment from best-in-class buyers and suppliers “who are interested to work on the long-term and also high value, rather than those only interested in cheap labour. “As a global value chain it’s a buyer-driven industry, so we have to engage buyers on a strategic level. Secondly, we need leading manufacturers: they already know the requirements related to compliance and standards, (and have existing) supply arrangements with the buyers. We also want them to be drivers for know-how transfer in skills development and management skills to local companies.”


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