Ethiopia’s textile and apparel industry has experienced rapid development

Ethiopia’s textile and apparel industry has experienced rapid development

The ZDHC Foundation is partnering with the German government and Dow Europe GmbH on a project aimed at building a safer and more eco-friendly textile and apparel industry in Ethiopia.

The two-and-half-year project is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), in collaboration with Bahir Dar University where ZDHC aims to incorporate chemical management into the university's undergraduate curriculum, and establish a training and consultant infrastructure. 

Ethiopia's textile and apparel industry has experienced a rapid development in the last five to six years, helped by ambitious governmental plans and several bilateral trade agreements.

But with this acceleration in development, there are also sustainability challenges that need to be addressed, according to ZDHC, which oversees the Roadmap to Zero Programme and is working to reduce the textile and clothing industry's chemical footprint. Two main challenges identified are an education skill gaps in the textile industry and a lack of awareness of chemical management – and the project aims to bridge these gaps.

It will be ZDHC's first in sub-Saharan Africa.

Two work packages will be rolled out consecutively. In the first, ZDHC will implement training and provide training materials for the lectures and students at the Bahir Dar University. Lecturers will initially receive training on the tailored chemical management curriculum and will then proceed to teach what they have learnt to the textile faculty bachelor students.

The second package, meanwhile, aims to enhance the capacity of consultants and experts, with the goal of accrediting at least four experts who can train and advise factory operators and managers in the implementation of better chemical management in the day-to-day practices.

ZDHC Accredited Training Providers (ATP) will help build knowledge and support the suppliers. GIZ will support in identifying interested local providers and the project partner's invite international providers to reach out to ZDHC in case they would like build or employ local experts.

In addition, Dow will give input to training curricula and schedules, and conduct parts of the training from a company perspective. It is also offering support to ZDHC and the education sector.