IAF touches grounds in Ethiopia
IAF Secretary General Matthijs Crietee visited Addis Ababa, capital of upcoming apparel manufacturing country Ethiopia as part of an EU sponsored industry development project. Visiting government agency Tidi and industry association Etgama in addition to several companies, including Indian denim giant Arvin, it became clear that the interest in investing in Ethiopia is real.
The government is truly investing in the industry and a number of large companies such as H&M, PVH and Arvind are making a long term commitment to Ethiopia. These are proposing the view that each large brand, retailer or manufacturer investing in Ethiopia has a moral obligation to participate in the development of the industry. They have a very good point, because after the investments in such hardware as industrial estates, railways and machines, now it is time for the more complex soft investments such as human capital, productivity and financial infrastructure. If Ethiopia is to make good on the promise it holds, it needs to maintain and even ramp up the growth rate it has developed. This means getting serious on the soft investments which will require a collaborative effort from government, buyers, investors, manufacturers and donors. The promise is real, but it will be no picnic in the park.