Ethiopia’s Hawassa Industrial Park Opening Up Opportunities to Local People

Various mega projects help the economic development of a country and benefit the society around while other projects extend their benefit beyond and endeavor to transform society’s socio-economic development. Among such projects is the Hawassa Industrial Park (HIP).

The park whose construction was finalized in nine months, relatively lower period accommodates 52 international standard factory sheds with full facility using latest technology. Among the two main reasons that make it unique the huge job opportunity that it created. HIP Acting General Manager, Fitsum Ketema, told visitors from various parts of the country that the park has created 17,000 job opportunities in 17 months and envisages to raise the opportunities to 60,000 as more companies take over the empty sheds inside the park.

Beyond the direct employment opportunity hired in the factories within the park, the park has now opened a good opportunity for the park area settlers. As the park hired many workers from different parts of the region, it needs workers’ residential houses.
According to Fitsum to solve residential house problem for the park workers, the park administrator, Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC), in collaboration with Sidama Micro Finance Institution have launched a credit service program for the local people with free land to build residential houses to be hired for the parks employees.

The acting manager said that based on this plan more than 561 dormitory level houses which accommodate four persons in one room were built and more than 2000 workers are now live with these houses. He stated that the agreement is, the settlers by borrowing money from the park build homes and rent the houses on fixed price for 5 year contract agreement on fixed price and it is prohibited to rent for outside the parks’ workers.

This new plan can help the settlers to earn income, to build homes for long term and also help the workers to get near home with fixed price. In addition to the effort of IPDC to solve shelter problems for the workers of the park, there is also a plan to build additional workers’ residential houses by the companies themselves, he added. Fitsum stated that currently three companies allocated land to build workers’ residential houses with International Labor Organization (ILO) standard.

Fitsum said that the amount of employment created within the park will also create more job opportunity to the area and to the city dwellers since all this need food, goods and commodities which helps to expand business in the area.

Currently 20 companies from all corners of the world start their investment within the park which some of them rent two and three sheds, Fitsum said. Investors from Ethiopia, USA, Belgium, France, Spain, Indonesia, China, Sri Lanka, India and other countries are now investing in Hawassa Industrial Park. And one local investor will join this week, he stated.
Fitsum also stated that 16 of the 20 companies started export while the remains are on process and on machine setups which helps the country to generate foreign currency.

Fitsum said that HIP is large scale garment and textile specialized park and it was constructed mainly for job opportunity, to earn foreign currency and technology/knowledge transfer.

The acting manager further stated that HIP is a model park and there is an effort to make the park center of excellence and to expand the experiences to other industrial parks. Based on the successes of HIP there is an opportunity to expand to other industrial parks and to take lessons from challenges faced at HIP to address them on the other industrial parks early. So according to Fitsum HIP have many benefits for the society based on employment opportunity, as a market and new business for the society, and multidimensional opportunity to the country.

He also restated that the companies which are now investing in HIP are internationally known companies, so while they export their products tagged by “made in Ethiopia”, and distribute to the world market, it creates and builds a good image and promotes the country’s economy internationally.

So according to Fitsum HIP have thousand opportunities for the country in creating thousand job opportunities, to expand business to the society, an extra opportunity for the development of Hawassa City and the region, technology and knowledge transfer, to better improvement and experience sharing for the other industrial parks, for image building of the country and so on.

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Source: The Ethiopian Herald

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