Availability of raw materials and abundant labour has turned Ethiopia into an attractive investment destination for Indian leather manufacturers.” Ethiopia is looking for investments in the manufacturing sector, especially shoe manufacturing,” said Rafeeque Ahmed, former chairman of the Council for Leather Exports and chairman of Farida Group which manufactures and exports leather shoes.
“Companies are interested in investing and are evaluating options but it is still in a nascent stage,” he said. Farida Group is amongst the first to go to Ethiopia, and has built a tannery close to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, which has just begun operations. Ethiopia has been known as a good destination for raw material for the leather industry. Data from the website of the Embassy of Ethiopia , Washington DC says that the country annually produces 2.7 million hides, 8.1 million sheepskins and 7.5 million goatskins. Raw hides and skins constitute on average 55%-60 % of the production of semi-processed leather, and availability of material would help companies that invest there.
Indian manufacturers are struggling with labour shortage locally and Ethiopia offers the prospect of ample talent supply. “Availability of talent is abundant but they need to be trained and skilled to work with leather and make products . Our employees from India train locals there,” said Ahmed.
Also, the governments of both countries signed an MoU to mutually work on leather technology at the recently concluded India International Leather fair in Chennai. While it has talent and raw material, Ethiopia lacks good technology in leather and hence, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is partnering with the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) to work on technology upgradation of some Ethiopian tanneries. Source: Time of India