ADDIS ABABA, 30 May 2014 – The first results delivered under a project by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) which aims to increase the quality of leather products produced by the Ethiopian leather industry in accordance with domestic and international standards were presented in Addis Ababa today.
With funding from the Italian Government, UNIDO is helping increase the competitiveness of small manufacturing units that are usually composed of groups of four to six people and produce an average of 10 pairs of shoes per day.
Such production units are scattered in different regions of the country, especially in those where there are tannery clusters, like in Addis Ababa, Amhara, Oromia, and Tigray. They usually operate in isolation, lack the necessary business and market networking, and are affected by different technical and managerial constrains. “UNIDO is helping connect these isolated units to the domestic formal sector as well as to regional markets,” said Aurelia Calabrò, Chief of UNIDO Rural Entrepreneurship Development and Human Security Unit.
Calabrò pointed out that one of the unique aspects of the project is the fact that it is completely managed by local staff trained by UNIDO. “We also put additional emphasis on gender mainstreaming in order to empower women and help them find jobs,” she said.
The event in the capital was attended by representatives of the Ethiopian leather products sector (ELIA), including the Ministry of Industry, the Leather Industry Development Institute (LIDI), as well as the Italian Cooperation, and financial organizations.
“UNIDO’s approach is a fundamental tool for achieving inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Ethiopia,” said Tadesse Haile, the State Minister of Industry. He expressed his appreciation to UNIDO, LIDI and the Italian Cooperation for their continuous support and attention to the development of the micro and small enterprises that are working in the leather products sector.
From 2009 to 2013, UNIDO implemented the first phase of the project.
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Chief, UNIDO Rural Entrepreneurship Development and Human Security Unit