Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Huajian plans to generate USD 4 bln within a decade

Huajian Group, a Chinese shoe maker, plans to build a manufacturing zone in Ethiopia that may generate USD 4 billion of exports a year within a decade, Vice President Helen Hai said.
Construction of the 320-hectare (791-acre) site in Lebu on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, may start before the rainy season begins in June, Hai said in an interview on March 20 in Dukem, 30 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of the city.
“It should start in May with my own investment,” she said. “We will own it and we will manage it. The government promised me in two weeks’ time to finalize the process.”
Huajian Group, based in Dongguan, Gaungdong province, produces about 20 million pairs of shoes a year for brands including Calvin Klein (6625B) and Guess, according to Hai.
“Several million dollars” has already been invested in Hua Jian International Shoe City Plc in Dukem, which started producing shoes for the U.S. market on Jan. 5, three months after Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi invited the company to invest, Hai said.
The importation of Chinese workers and inputs for the Ethiopian operation will be phased out as Ethiopians are trained and domestic leather quality improves, she said.
(Bloomberg News)