The governments of South Korea and Ethiopia opened the “Textile Techno Park” at the weekend, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation reports.
The subject of a memorandum of understanding signed back in May 2016, the park was built in the Bole Lemi Industry Zone in southeastern Addis Ababa.
It has laboratories, classrooms, and workshops.
Speaking at the launch, Ethiopian industry minister Hasen Mohammed noted the importance of technology transfer and capacity building in Ethiopia’s industrialisation.
He said Ethiopia was ideally placed to begin high-tech textile production owing to its abundant workforce, large potential market, inadequate manufacturing industries, and strategic location.
With 123 million people, Ethiopia is the second most populous nation in Africa after Nigeria, and one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, the World Bank says.
The 353ha Bole Lemi park is a base for textile factories, as well as agricultural processing and pharmaceuticals.
Ethiopia is copying the Chinese model of using special economic zones to attract foreign investment, acquire technology and human capital, and use exports to build up foreign exchange reserves – one of the main weaknesses of the Ethiopian economy.
According to the Industrial Park Development Corporation, the body that oversees the policy, there are now 12 parks in the country with a total revenue of $1bn.
As well as a business venture, the park is expected to strengthen Ethiopia’s relations with Korea in education and culture.
Last month, South Korea began work on a similar venture in Uzbekistan. That facility will be created on the territory of the Tashkent Institute of Textile and Light Industry and will be financed by Korean development aid.