Eastern Industry Zone is part of the story of how China has built overseas trade and economic cooperation zones in Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Zambia, Egypt, Nigeria and elsewhere.

(Global Times)―A Chinese-built industrial park in Ethiopia has been helping the African country with its industrialization drive.

Thirty-seven kilometers south of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, the Eastern Industry Zone has attracted 85 companies to build factories, making clothing, textiles, shoes, cement, medicine and automobiles.

Inaugurated in 2010 by Chinese investors, the industry zone is the only overseas economic and trade cooperative zone that is supported by Ethiopia at the national level.

The LED screen at the park gate displays Chinese characters reading “China-Africa friendship, cooperation and win-win” every day. Beside the screen, local people gather, waiting for job opportunities.

The park has provided more than 10,000 work positions for local people.

A 27-year-old Ethiopian man, nicknamed Shanghai, is one of the first local employees of shoemaker Huajian Group in Ethiopia. After six years working in the Chinese company, including one year of training in China, he has become an assistant manager, earning more than 7,000 yuan ($1,012) a month.

“Thank you Chinese people, who taught me skills, culture and manners,” he said.

In the 40-hectare Eastern Industrial Zone, Huajian produces for brands like Guess, Calvin Klein, Nina and other branded items. It set up its factory in 2011. In 2017, Huajian Group brought $31 million in foreign exchange income to Ethiopia.

Wu Yunfei, a Chinese worker in a printing and dyeing mill in the Eastern Industry Zone, said that even though he could not speak English, he got along well with local employees. “We use gestures and smiles… that’s enough.”

Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome in August said Chinese investment plays an indispensable role in the East African country’s industrialization drive, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

“A decade ago the land the Eastern Industry Zone currently lies on was just agricultural land, but with hard work it has become today a showcase of high quality industrial factories in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, pulp and textile,” said Teshome, Xinhua reported.

The industrial park in Ethiopia is part of the story of how China has built overseas trade and economic cooperation zones in Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Zambia, Egypt, Nigeria and elsewhere.

Chinese companies have built 75 zones for economic and trade cooperation in 24 countries along the Belt and Road routes, contributing more than $2.2 billion of taxes and creating almost 210,000 local jobs by the end of 2017, according to official figures, Xinhua reported in April.

Source: Global Times
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