Ethiopia inaugurates integrated agro-industrial park with eye on 134,000 jobs
Ethiopia has inaugurated the third integrated agro-industrial park (IAIP) being developed within the framework of the Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) for Ethiopia, a flagship programme of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The new industrial park is located in Yirgalem, a town in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) region, and will focus on agro-industries as a means to drive rural industrialization and job creation. The park is expected to create around 134,000 new jobs in the region.
IAIPs will provide modern infrastructure, and support services to companies, as well as provide opportunities for skills development, and help attract domestic and foreign investment. Four such parks are being established within the framework of the PCP for Ethiopia.
Speaking at the occasion of the inauguration, Director General LI Yong noted that “UNIDO and the Government of Ethiopia, together with other partners, were involved in a long and thorough process to identify the best locations for the parks and their related rural transformation centres, as well as identifying required infrastructure in each park, detailed engineering design and developing options for management structures. Today marks an important milestone, but we are only witnessing the beginning of this exciting endeavour.”
He emphasized that UNIDO will continue working closely with the Government of Ethiopia as it brings this park and its three sister pilot parks in Amhara, Oromia and Tigray to fruition.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn led the cornerstone laying ceremony, marking the launch of the park’s construction phase.
Speaking at the event, he said, “IAIPs will play a crucial role in advancing the country’s economy, reducing rural poverty and creating a better environment for investors in agro-food and allied sectors”. He thanked UNIDO for the continuous support for the Government of Ethiopia through the PCP. The Prime Minister also expressed his gratitude to Director General Li for his effort and success in promoting Africa’s industrialization agenda.
The event was attended by over 3,000 participants, including cabinet ministers, regional government officials, representatives of communities surrounding the IAIP, interested investors and representatives of international organizations.
The UNIDO Director General, together with Ahmed Abtew, Ethiopia’s Minister of Industry, also visited the Hawassa sustainable eco-industrial park located in the capital of the SNNP region.
The park is fully occupied and hosts 17 leading global apparel and textile companies which will provide more than 80,000 jobs for young people, mostly women.