GREEN ECONOMIC ZONES: Ethiopia Opens Africa’s Largest Industrial Park

by Kim Boateng Posted on June 17th, 2017

Expected to be fully operational as of next week, Ethiopia’s flagship Chinese-built Hawassa eco-industrial park, the largest industrial park in Africa is built on 300 hectares of land and is the first Sustainable Textile and Apparel Industrial park in Africa with state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities. Hawassa eco-industrial park uses Zero-Liquid Discharge (ZLD) technology to promote environmental protection.

Hawassa Industrial Park, is located 275 km from Addis in proximity to one of Ethiopia’s premium holiday destination, and fully integrated with the city, in collaboration with the newly built Hawassa University.

As an Eco-Park, Hawassa is mostly powered by renewable electricity sources (hydro-electricity). The design and construction of Hawassa was conceived around energy and water conservation principles – including maximization of natural lightning and natural ventilation, fitting of low consumption bulbs, recycling of rain water, and solar powered LED street lights – making it Ethiopia’s first major eco-friendly development.

In parallel, the Government of Ethiopia is improving Hawassa’s connectivity with the extension of the Addis-Adama highway to Hawassa, the construction of a domestic airport, and the extension of the Addis – Modjo – Djibouti railway to Hawassa.

Hawassa Industrial Park – Ethiopia’s blueprint for green economic zones

East African country, Ethiopia announced on Friday that its flagship Chinese-built Hawassa Industrial Park, designed and constructed according to environment-friendly principles, will be a model for other similar projects throughout the country. Ethiopia  further hopes that the Hawassa Industrial Park, once fully operational, would help its aspiration and commitment to build a green economy.

Designed, constructed and operated as a green industrial zone, the park applies cutting edge technology to treat and recycle about 90 percent of its water usage.

Developing sustainable, world-class, specialized, export-driven and competitive industrial parks is the major target of Ethiopia’s vision for economic development, according to Arkebe Oqubay, Special Adviser to the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

Oqubay told reporters on Friday that Ethiopia’s rapid economic growth can only be sustained through the realization of a structural transformation, which requires creating a robust and competitive industrial base.

According to Oqubay, the Hawassa Industrial Park would be considered as a model for other industrial parks under construction in the east African country, in which efforts will be exerted to implement the Zero-Liquid Discharge (ZLD) technology to promote environmental protection.

Hawassa Industrial Park – Expected risks of industrial park business

Industrial park development is a real estate business and shares the same features with other property investments. Even when the government runs this business, it cannot avoid its inherent risks. The speed of tenant arrival depends on many factors which are beyond the control of a host country or a developer, such as global economic conditions and interest rates, policies of the US and EU, domestic business cycles, financial and political crises, spread of terrorism or communicable diseases, as well as the ups and downs of the property market itself. Moreover, not all registered investments actually invest.

In Ethiopia, there is currently a huge excess demand for industrial parks and a long queue of investors because the supply of high-quality industrial land is very limited in comparison with most Asian countries. However, this depends on the balance between demand and supply, and good times may not last forever. The Ethiopian authorities should be prepared for harder times and have a contingency plan if such a situation arises. This is a normal precaution for any operator of property business and investment.

Hawassa Industrial Park: China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC)To Build Ten More Industrial Parks For Ethiopia

Built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), the Hawassa Industrial Park was completed in a record time of nine months, and was inaugurated on July 2016.

The Ethiopian government plans to construct 10 industrial parks across the country aiming to enhance job opportunities, earn revenue and promote technology transfer, said Sisay Gemechu, Ethiopia’s Industrial Parks Development Corporation CEO.

After the Hawassa Industrial Park, the government has further embarked on the development of similar parks in Kombolcha, Mekele, Kilinto, Bole Lemmi II, Dire Dawa and Adama among others, of which Mekele and Kombolcha industrial parks will soon be inaugurated.

The Hawassa Industrial Park is expected to employ 60,000 people at full capacity and be able to generate annual export revenue amounting to 1 billion U.S. dollars.

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