Ethiopia Eyeing Cluster Centers to Fast Track Industrialization

Ethiopia is eyeing at strengthening its Small and Medium Scale (SMS) manufacturing industries through shared infrastructure of cluster centers, according to Federal Small and Medium Manufacturing Industry Development Agency.

Agency Director Asfaw Abebe said the newly setup Agency is working on strengthening the Small and Medium scale manufacturing industries by building cluster Centers across the Country.

“This project, which would be carried out as part of a cluster based industrialization scheme aims to address the problem of workspaces for small and medium manufacturing industries and help to strengthen the interlink between and among them.” The scheme would be an important mechanism that would enable the Country to support its industrial development in an integrated and harmonized manner.

According to the Director, the cluster centers are intended to be constructed in three different forms in accordance with population density and economic level of cities they are being built in. The Centers which are going to be constructed in big cities will sit on 250 hectares of land. He said adding that the medium sized centers will sit on 100 hectares of land and the small towns will have centers built on 50 hectares of land in 720 woredas of the country.

The Enterprise is also expecting the construction of the cluster centers to bring continuous improvement and value addition on existing products of S&M manufacturing industries by utilizing the advantage of having common technical infrastructure.

Agency Transformation & Facilitation Department Deputy Director Dejene Gebre Mariam, on his part said the centers would be equipped with full infrastructural packages which would enable them to provide international standard services. According to him, infrastructure like road, electricity, telecommunication, which will have their own sub-stations, will be built by taking into account the urbanization and potential urban/human settlement that will come near the cluster centers.

Equally, the Centers are expected to serve as an avenue to provide fair distribution of wealth.

Dejene believes given that the cluster industrialization scheme is carried out as ‘Woreda industrialization’, it can bring fair wealth distribution as most of the people of the country lives in rural areas. By doing so, he added “we can address the rural area.” Different to Integrated Agro-industry Park, the cluster centers are built with tailor-made technology in a manner to serve those entering into the center, he further stated.

The regions are identifying the cities and spots where the cluster centers will be built, he said, adding that feasibility and basic structural and Geo-technical studies are being carried out.

“For instance while Amhara and Oromia State have chosen Bahir Dar and Neqemte to build the 250 hectare wide centers, Debre Markos and Bedele are chosen to house the 100 hectares wide centers,” he elaborated.

Established only a year ago, the Government is expecting the Agency to help lay a broad base for large scale industrialization and accelerate country’s vision of transforming from agriculture to an industry-led economy.

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