The 13 industrial parks currently under the Industrial Parks Development Commission were built at a cost of 1.5 billion dollars.

Prospective investors can now submit business proposals should they be interested in engaging in commercial ventures in four industrial parks, following the Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC) availing 26ht of land to develop commercial spaces unrelated to manufacturing.

The industry sees the Corporation's latest decision as a major departure from the past when only manufacturers were permitted to access land inside industrial parks.

The last decade saw 13 industrial parks in Ethiopia, with annual exports reaching 164 million dollars. It is a far cry from the 1.5 billion dollars invested in them, although the authorities deem this a "triumph" to repeat by allowing non-manufacturing businesses to thrive at the four industry hubs.

The Corporation has announced a call for expressions of interest from potential investors for three of Addis Abeba's industrial parks – Bole Lemi, Kilinto and the ICT Park - and Hawassa Industrial Park. The parks are operational, with sheds being utilised by manufacturers.

Three-fourth of the land to be availed is found at Bole Lemi and Kilinto with 10ht each, whereas 5.2ht is cleared for developers at ICT Park. Another 1.1ht is available in Hawassa. Specialising in textiles and garments, Hawassa Industrial Park sits on 140ht of land 275Km south of the capital. The Park started operation in 2016, and all 52 of its sheds are occupied by domestic and international companies.

The three parks in the outskirts of Addis Abeba have each specialised in a different line of products with Kilinto Industrial Park, on 279ht of land, designated for pharmaceuticals. The 200ht ICT Park, a.k.a the Silicon Vally of Ethiopia, specialises in IT-related manufacturing and digital businesses. The two Bole Lemi Industrial Parks sit on 172ht and 181ht of land, respectively, and both are textile hubs.

Anyone interested in developing the land can submit proposals, disclosed Behailu Kebede, marketing and communications head of the Corporation.

“But it's only for non-manufacturing businesses that aim to provide services whether for the parks’ communities or people outside them,” said Behailu.

The Corporation hopes to see developers incentivised as the parks can be ideal locations for the hospitality and real estate sectors; Bole Lemi Industrial Park has natural hot springs that could be an attraction to develop entertainment facilities.

“We haven't set any rate for the land nor received any offers yet,” Behailu disclosed to Fortune.

The news is well received by those in the private sector, such as Addis Alemayehou, a businessman and chairperson of Kazana Group. He welcomes the news as he believes access to land has been the main bottleneck for domestic or foreign investors in Ethiopia.

“I’m sending my team right away,” he told Fortune.

Having all the infrastructure such as electric power, water supply, and roads ready should make it easy for investors to move in, according to Behailu.

Addis of Kazana Group agrees.

“Developed land with all the infrastructure ready is like a lottery,” he said. “We're definitely going to go for this opportunity.”

Abinet Belay, an investment consultant for 14 years with MPE Advisory Firm, would like to see the offer extended to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) interested in warehousing and printing.

“However, the nature of the parks might dictate the type of the services,” says Abinet. “Parks manufacturing chemical-related products might not be favourable for recreation, hotels or housing services.”

PUBLISHED ON Jul 31,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1109]

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