The Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI) says the call by Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome in January for Chinese clothing and textile companies to invest in his country is grounded in good sense.

"Ethiopia offers cheap labour, free rent, cheap electricity, duty-free import of machinery and goods, favourable rules and regulations, cheap air freight, quality and Ethiopian cotton, " Bantihun Gessesse, institute spokesperson told just-style.

And his optimism is backed by Sun Guoqiang, president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia, who told just-style: "China is looking to strengthen bilateral relations this year with Ethiopia's textile sector as it has identified many opportunities and because China is looking for alternatives in Africa."

Teshome highlights that China needs to keep its production costs down for its textile industry to be globally competitive.

He also adds that Ethiopia is ready to take on a portion of the 80m manufacturing jobs that China is expected to shed over the next few years due to rising labour costs.

Ethiopia's clothing and textile sector is undergoing rapid expansion fuelled by foreign investment.

And while there are as yet no serious Chinese investors in Ethiopia's textile industry, Chinese shoe manufacturer Huajian has relocated production facilities to Ethiopia to escape rising costs at home.