After landing a deal to provide full-utility knockdown premises to furnish a South Sudan housing project, Addis Prefab has now signed a concession of $15M to supply steel channels to a construction company in the UAE, reports from Ethiopia say.
As a favor, the UAE firm Al Bahtawi will channel forex back to the horn of Africa firm via chemical and steel coil imports.
The details have emerged courtesy of Fikermariam Alemu, the CEO of Addis Prefab.
Manufacturing in Ethiopia has been an up and down story, glorious for its initial five year economic plan of 1957, which would soon undergo belittling by the successive regimes that had a taste for nationalization and socialist ownership.
To date, Addis Ababa has been the country’s mecca of industry, for most of the manufacturing hubs, ranging from that of glass to light industries for handicrafts all have a home in the capital.
Between 1957 and 1965, the golden age of Ethiopia’s industry, local cottage crafts dominated the industrial and manufacturing scene replete with textile, earthenware, mechanical tools, as well as, leather merchandise. Midway through the 1970s, the Ethiopian economy drew 11.4 percent of its Gross Domestic Product from either handicraft or mechanical production, each sub-sector representing about five percent of the national cake.
It was during this same epoch that the nationalistic political framework made some one hundred-strong industrial companies as property of the state, a reason for the ensuing decline of the sector, which would soon pick slowly in the early 1990s, when Mengistu Haile Merriam, who would soon suffer imposed foreign exile, relaxed the public grip on industries.
Now Ethiopia enjoys a good share of industrial prowess partly with support of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which finances a free market economy.
Since the mass exodus of expatriate firms from the country after the nationalization epoch, many have begun to creep back. It is no wonder then that trading alliances as that between Addis Prefab and Al Bahtawi exist to date.
There are also reports that Addis Prefab has elicited the interest of international companies that seek to partner with the firm but this has only drawn non-committal reaction from the company.