Takunda Maodza recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa and his delegation had an eye-opening tour of Ethiopia’s multi-million dollar industrial parks on the outskirts of Addis Ababa yesterday and vowed this was the path Zimbabwe must follow to ensure vibrant economic growth and employment creation.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces had, since last Friday, been in Addis Ababa attending the 32nd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly.
President Mnangagwa, who was accompanied by the First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa and other Government officials, returned home yesterday afternoon.
President Mnangagwa toured industrial parks in the Bole Lem area, which have become Ethiopia’s economic heartbeat.
The tour was meant to see how Zimbabwe could drive beneficial experiences from the industrial parks concept.
Zimbabwe is in the process of establishing Special Economic Zones across the country modelled along the same lines.
In an interview after the tour, President Mnangagwa said: “The history is that the Government of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia built these factory shells and then invited companies in the textile sector from India to come and do business here. As a result of that it’s now about six years old.
This entity alone (Jay Jay Textiles) employees in excess of 4 000 workers but they have other places where they have similar factories having 45 000 employees in the past five years working in these shells built by the Government.”
He said Zimbabwe must embrace the same industrialisation model.
“I think this is the way to go. They have created employment for the youths and particularly women. You can see inside there that the young girls and women are working. The market, we have been briefed, are top end market in the USA. It is an eye opener that we also in Zimbabwe have the intention of creating economic zones, economic parks of this nature and that is the way. It creates employment. It brings technology. It brings you skills into the country. This is the way to go,” said President Mnangagwa.
Jay Jay Textiles exports clothes to elite American retail corporation including Walmart earning foreign currency for Ethiopia.
At the industrial park, President Mnangagwa also toured another textile company, Ashton Apparel Manufacturing PLC Ethiopia, whose management flew from the United Arab Emirates to meet President Mnangagwa.
It is yet another textile giant which employees thousands and exports to various countries.
Ethiopia’s industrial parks were constructed by Chinese companies.
They have significantly contributed to its industrial development.
Other benefits include job creation for thousands of Ethiopians, attraction of Foreign Direct Investment, generation of foreign currency through exports and harnessing of sophisticated technology.
Zimbabwe has a lot to learn from Ethiopia’s industrial parks as it implements its SEZ concept.
The SEZs are being established to fulfil the following objectives – restore the economy’s capacity to produce goods and services competitively; to create economies of scale good enough for the locator of the proposed SEZs to be internationally competitive; to ensure inclusive growth emanating from the spread of growth nodes and diversified provincial offerings; to maximise the economic benefits of a given geographical location and its stakeholders, and to attract more investment from the international community.
Nine companies have so far been granted Special Economic Zone status in a development that will expedite Government’s drive to increase Foreign Direct Investment inflows.
According to a Government Gazette published recently, the nine companies include Surewin Pvt Ltd; Iron Steel Company of Zimbabwe; Afrochine Pvt Ltd, Southpole Consulting Pvt Ltd; Lentsloane Pvt Ltd; Tradekings Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd; Ecosoft Pvt Ltd; Nkonyeni Agriculture Pvt Ltd and Bernard Development Corporation Pvt Ltd.
This followed the gazetting of Statutory Instrument (SI) 154 of 2018 that effectively brought Special Economic Zones (SEZs) into operation.
President Mnangagwa returned home yesterday afternoon after attending the AU 32nd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The two-day meeting of Heads of State and Government, which was running under the theme, “The year of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons: Towards durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa,” ended yesterday.
It saw the appointment of Egyptian leader Abdel el-Sisi as the new chairperson of the African Union taking over from Rwanda’s Paul Kagame.
South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa will take over the leadership of the continental body next year (2020).
At the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport to welcome President Mnangagwa were Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, and Security Minister Owen Ncube and service chiefs.