Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Chinese shoe companies bring leather one step ahead

Hujuan, one of the biggest international footwear companies, based in China, is expected to put its mark on the country’s leather industry.
The factory came to Ethiopia two months ago following Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s visit to China.
Hujuan secured 320hct land around Dukem, 25Km east of Addis Ababa and is already in the final stages of its factory’s construction.
The company expects to produce 3,000 pairs of shoes per day for export.
Berhanu Nigus, head of quality testing and certification service at the Leather Industry Development Institute (LIDI), told Capital that Hujuan will start production in early 2012.
Currently the company is providing training for over 100 Ethiopian leather professionals in China.
Its owner travelled to Ethiopia at least two times and has received investment incentives from the Prime Minister, according to sources.
Sources said that the investor secured necessary investment facilities within a few days and the company has been given high priority by the government.
“LIDI is involved in the selection of professionals, who travelled to China for further training,” Berhanu said.
“We highly expect the Chinese firm to move the footwear export one step ahead,” he added.
According to the head, another Chinese company, New Wing, is also coming to Ethiopia which has a huge international network.  New Wing is also constructing a factory and gives Ethiopia further hope that the finished leather industry is expanding.
There are around 15 shoe and leather garment factories making export quality products, and the two new companies are likely to make a huge impact in the sector. This fiscal year Ethiopia hopes to earn 206 million dollars from leather exports. The first five months have already brought 60 million dollars. Earlier this month the country banned the export of crust that constituted the largest leather product export. 
“We imposed the new law to expand finished leather exports. We hope to obtain a substantial share of the international leather market so we want to focus on the export of finished leather products,” Berhanu said.
Previously investment in finished leather products was sparse but now more companies are showing interest especially now that crust exports have been banned.
Meanwhile, “we are not expecting significant change because we are in a transitional phase but we will meet our target before the end of the five year plan that will end in 2014/15 budget year,” experts from LIDI said.