Blog: Big gap between Ethiopia export goals and reality
Michelle Russell | 10 December 2014
Ethiopia may have more trump cards to play than any other sub-Sahara African country when it comes to developing a competitive cotton, textile and garment supply chain, but it still has a rough road ahead. Indeed, Ethiopia's growth as a garment exporter will be slower and more difficult than the government and local textile organisations predict.
Theoretically, all the necessary ingredients are available to transform Ethiopia into an internationally competitive textile nation. According to the Growth and Transformation Plan launched in mid-2010, during the fiscal year 2013-14 Ethiopia should have exported textile articles worth US$435m. Exports, however, only reached a quarter of this, at US$111m, with very low wages being counterbalanced by low labour productivity.
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According to the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), the industry's efforts in the strategic direction of production, and increasing localisation, have helped increase competitiveness. To date, the sector has raised the localisation rate to more than 50%.
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On the sustainability front, UK retailer Marks & Spencer has increased the amount of Better Cotton it sources, moving a step closer to achieving its Plan A commitment to procure 50% from sustainable sources by 2020. The group also revealed its current search for a head of international supply chain. The move comes as Steve Finlan, director of international operations, steps down from his role.
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