Chinese companies to develop new industrial park in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) on Wednesday signed an agreement with China's WODA Metal Industry Private Limited Company (PLC) and its partners to build an industrial park in Ethiopia.

The agreement involves the upgrading of the WODA Metal Industry PLC into WODA Industrial Park with an outlay of 95 million U.S. dollars at Sebeta town on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Daniel Teressa, EIC Deputy Commissioner, told Xinhua after the agreement signing ceremony that WODA Industrial Park will have a significant contribution in terms of creating job opportunities, upgrading the industrial foundation and generating the much needed foreign currency to the east African nation.

"It is a huge investment that will create a lot of job opportunities and provide a big boost to the country's export earnings and import substitutions," said Teressa, adding that the industrial park will also serve as a platform to transfer technology to locals.

The industrial park to be jointly developed after the end of Ethiopia's current rainy season by two Chinese companies - WODA Metal Industry PLC, Diyuan Ceramics PLC and a Japanese firm called Alpha, is expected to create up to 17,000 job opportunities for local people, according to the EIC.

Noting that the park developers have been investing in Ethiopia for a long time with rich business experiences and networks in the eastern African market, the deputy commissioner said the new investment is anticipated to attract at least 400 million U.S. dollars of investment.

When it gets fully operational, WODA Industrial Park is set to manufacture electric vehicles, rubber, home appliances and power equipment and supply them to the Ethiopian and east African market.

"In the near future, we are going to manufacture high-end products, chiefly electric vehicles, home appliances, rubber and electric batteries," Cui Xiguang, founder of WODA Industrial Park and general manager of WODA Metal Industry PLC, which is engaged in the building of power transmission towers, structures and manufacturing of cables and galvanized products.

Cui is optimistic that the electric vehicle assembly business would be lucrative as the auto industry in the eastern African region is at its infancy stage and that the government of Ethiopia supports the development of electric vehicles through its preferential policies.

"We will be focusing not only on the Ethiopian market but also the whole eastern African market. There is a big population and a big market," Cui added.

Official reports indicate that Ethiopia relies heavily on imports of tires and power distribution equipment, in which the WODA Industrial Park, once operational, is expected to help Ethiopia get the products locally through recycling of waste tires using new technology.

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