25/05/2018 — auf Deutsch lesen

Ethiopia! The new hope for the Textile Industry

“Made in China?” “Made in Bangladesh?” No, “Made in Ethiopia!” The country in the Horn of Africa is increasingly edging onto the radar of the textile industry.


Ethiopia is an upcoming textile location. International investors are keeping an eye on Africa with a view to capitalising on its potential © Shutterstock


Ethiopia’s government, associations, foreign investors as well as local and global enterprises are all working towards the same goal. This has been illustrated particularly clearly in recent years by the commitment of the Ethiopian Textile and Garment Manufacturer’s Association, which has succeeded in attracting US$ 1.6 bn in direct foreign investment. In the period from 2007 to 2016, many of these resources were channelled into the construction of 191 spanking new textile factories. So, what is it that makes this landlocked country such a promising sourcing and investment hub for our industry? And what kind of challenges will Ethiopia have to face in the future if it is to secure a permanent seat around the table of the global textile industry?

“In which countries of Subsaharan Africa do you intend to start or step up your sourcing activities by 2020?” In a survey of international buyers, 35% of respondents pointed to Ethiopia, catapulting it to the top spot. The study entitled “East Africa: The next hub for apparel sourcing?” was conducted in 2015 by international consultancy McKinsey.

For global players such as H&M, PVH, VF Corp., KIK, Tchibo, Primark and Tesco, Ethiopia has already advanced to an established sourcing destination. In fact, Ethiopia has grown into one of Primark’s five key markets alongside India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar.

Investors are likewise poised in their starting blocks. According to the Ethiopian Investment Commission, 124 investors have already expressed an interest in Ethiopia’s textiles sector, including 71 from China. H&M is already reaping the fruits of its success here: Four years ago, the Swedish fashion chain started collaborating with Swedfund, the Swedish state development financier, with a view to establishing sustainable production standards in Ethiopia.

In Part 3 of our series Special Africa, we highlight the African state of Ethiopia. Read the detailed article by Katharina Koch in our print issue textile network 5-6 with release date May 17, 2018.