The new Hawassa Industrial Park near Addis Ababa is due to start operation in June

The new Hawassa Industrial Park near Addis Ababa is due to start operation in June

US clothing giant PVH Corp, owner of the Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brands, will begin manufacturing its clothing products in Ethiopia this summer, just-style has learnt.

The clothing provider will operate out of a newly-built industrial park in Hawassa city, south of the capital Addis Ababa.

Fassil Tadesse, president of the Ethiopian Textile and Garment Manufacturers Association (ETGMA), says: "PVH has been interested for a long time in setting up a manufacturing base in Ethiopia." He adds that production of PVH products is expected to begin in July or August.

PVH is also planning to establish an Ethiopian clothing sourcing network: "They also have a plan to begin sourcing garments from well-established suppliers in Ethiopia," added Tadesse.

Dana Perlman, spokesperson for PVH, confirms: "In addition to the factory we expect to increase purchases as production in the country increases". However at this stage, she says, PVH will not divulge further details about its production or investment plans. 

The newly built Hawassa Industrial Park is due to start operation in June and will offer 37 factory units on a 300-hectare plot to apparel and garment producers.

The Ethiopian government is also in negotiations with other major clothing producers including Ralph Lauren and VF Corporation to participate in Ethiopia's clothing and textile sector, and begin sourcing from its apparel suppliers.

Ethiopia's growing clothing and textile sector is set to expand further following a pledge in 2014 from the World Bank to spend US$250m million in financing Ethiopian government plans to build seven industrial parks over the next five years.

While apparel firms such as Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), Asos, George at Asda, Calzedonia, Primark and Tesco are already sourcing from Ethiopia, the country's exports continue to fall short of expectations, with a range of issues blamed including managerial and technical expertise, power outages and fluctuation, a shortage of manpower and high turnover, weak company linkages, and delays in implementing investment projects.

That said, the scale of investment in the country appears to be accelerating, and the government seems committed to building a sourcing hub for the future.

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