Three industrial parks built by China in Ethiopia’s Hawassa, Mekelle and Kombolcha have started drawing foreign export firms to the east African nation’s textile and apparel sector. The country plans to generate one-fourth of $400-mn foreign exchange earnings target for the current fiscal from its flagship industrial park in Hawassa alone. The parks are part of Ethiopia’s efforts to become Africa’s manufacturing powerhouse. The country plans to raise its current $150 mn revenue from textile and apparel exports to more than $1 bn, according to a report.

The Hawassa park has started bringing in revenues and Hong Kong-based TAL Apparel is among the foreign companies that have started production in its premises. About $1.5 mn is being earned every month at the Hawassa park, according to a recent report by the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute. Seven foreign companies, including some from Bangladesh, have secured space to commence operations at the Mekelle industrial park.

US textile and apparel firm Trybus has signed an agreement with the Ethiopian Investment Commission to start a factory inside the Kombolcha Industrial Park built by the China Civil Engineering Corporation. Ethiopia, with nearly 175 textile units, aims to generate $30 bn in foreign exchange earnings from the textiles and clothing sector by 2030 and has allotted more than $1 bn for the construction of industrial parks in the second five-year growth and transformation plan (GTP-II) period, effective from 2015 to 2020. It plans to have 150 companies in the sector by 2020.