ADDIS ABABA (ENA)―The first Ethio-US footwear summit, dubbed as “Made by Ethiopia Summit,” aimed at enabling Ethiopian footwear manufacturers to enter and consolidate meaningful market share in the US market was held here today.
In his opening remark at Made by Ethiopia Summit, Thomas Crockett, Leader of the US business delegation and Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs with Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) said Ethiopia’s share in US total footwear imports has been showing gradual growth.
According to the director, Ethiopia has exported 2,100 pairs of shoes into the US market in the first six months of the current year, which surpassed that of 1,500 pair of shoes in the year 2015.
Crockett noted that the factors that contributed to the progress are Ethiopia’s efforts to utilize African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), success in improving export quality and quantity.
He said Ethiopia’s huge potential for footwear and cost-competitive labor force encouraged Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) to come and seek partnership with local companies.
FDRA will extend the financial and technical support to Ethiopian footwear producers that bolster their competitiveness and encourages top US footwear buying companies to engage into Ethiopia’s market, according to Crockett.
Knowledge Management and Communication Advisor with Enterprise Partners, one of the hosts of Made by Ethiopia Summit, Dawit Ketema told reporters that US companies are showing a growing desire to enter into Ethiopia’s footwear market by capitalizing on its AGOA privilege and skilled labor force.
The advisor stated that the construction of specialized industry parks that provide investors with the necessary facilities also encourage US companies to do business in the country.
However, the share of Ethiopia’s footwear exports to the US market has not reached the desired level as compared to the country’s huge livestock resources.
He commended Ethiopian footwear producers to identify buyers’ needs and meet their design and quality specifications as well as enhance the marketing system to tap the US huge potential for footwear exports.
The 11 executive members of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), an association that represents 80 percent of the country’s footwear markets, had visited shoe factories and tanneries in Addis Ababa and surroundings yesterday.
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