In the last 6 years, the Ethiopian textile and apparel industry has grown at an average of 51% and more than 65 international textile investment projects have been licensed for foreign investors, during this period. The country has achieved an average annual export growth of 27.4% over the last decade where the manufacturing industry contributes 13% to the GDP. The industry has been growing on an annual average of 10.2% for the same period. But rural parts of the country face a host of challenges and opportunities alike which include a weak business environment, a scarcity of skilled and unskilled workers, high cost of production, and low-level infrastructure and the inability to create synergies with the education sector among other challenges.
Desta PLC in cooperation with Butajira TVET College (Butajira College) has established a dual educational structure for potential garment workers. In the project duration of 30 months, 960 workers, out of which 75% will be women, will be trained under the following 7 job profiles: merchandising, pattern design, cutting, production, quality control, finishing and packaging, and machine maintenance.
Up to 50% of the trainees will be hired by Desta, creating employment for 480 people as well as allowing the industry to avail the benefits of the remaining 480 skilled workers. Also, to ensure higher social and environmental standards in the newly established factory in Butajira, it will become a member of Sedex through ‘SEDEX Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA)’ and establish EMS standards based on ISO 14001.
Furthermore, cooperation will be established with the Adama Industrial Park to disseminate the knowledge to the whole industry of Ethiopia and ensure the job placement of the workers. Desta along with Adama will also provide job placement for at least 100 skilled workers within the growing textile industry in Ethiopia.