India’s KPR Mill inaugurates new factory in Ethiopia’s Mekelle Industrial Park
(Mekelle/Coimbatore/Geneva) – KPR Mill Ltd, an integrated textile manufacturing company from India, today opened its first overseas garment unit, in Ethiopia’s Mekelle Industrial Park. The garment factory will have a capacity of 10 million items each year. So far, employment has been created for 700 people and export shipments have commenced to Europe and the United States.
The opening of the factory is the result of a collaborative partnership with the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa programme (SITA), which works to build trade and investment linkages between India and East Africa.
The official inauguration of the factory – KPR Export – was attended by ITC Executive Director Ms Arancha González and Mr. K.P Ramasamy, Chairman of KPR Mill Ltd. Other dignitaries at the inauguration included Ethiopian State Minister for Trade and Industry Mr. Teka Gebreyesus, Mr Debretsion Gebremichael, Vice-President of Tigray Regional State, Mr Mayur Kothari, Convenor, India Business Forum, Ethiopia and Mr. Anteneh Alemu, Deputy Commissioner of the Ethiopia Investment Commission.
Funded by the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DFID), ITC’s SITA programme aims to improve the competitiveness of selected value chains, including textiles and apparel, in five East African countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania – through the provision of partnerships with institutions and businesses from India.
Mr. C. R. Anandakrishnan, Executive Director of KPR Mill, said: ‘We are happy with the progress of KPR Export so far and thanks to trade schemes such as the United States’ Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and the European Union’s Everything but Arms initiative, we believe garments made in Ethiopia can better capitalize on opportunities in foreign markets.
‘With the support of ITC our speed of entry into Ethiopia, from planning to invest to starting operations has been good. ITC connected us with the right institutions and people in the country, and have provided us with key information about Ethiopia. This resulted in speeding up our decision making ability.’
Ms. González said that the setting up of KPR Export was a showcase example of Ethiopia’s attractiveness and investment potential, and a demonstration of the successful effort by ITC’s SITA programme in strengthening business linkages across the Indian Ocean.
‘With DFID’s support, at ITC we are pleased to have been part of KPR’s journey to invest in Ethiopia. We are particularly proud of the 1,500 news jobs that will be created at the Mekelle Industrial Park and the opportunities these provide, especially for women and youth,’ she said.
The decision to by KPR Mill to open the production unit in Mekelle, followed a visit to Ethiopia by its Chairman Mr. K.P. Ramasamy and senior management team in April 2018. As a result of the trip, which was organized by ITC’s SITA programme, KPR Mill made an initial investment commitment of $20 million and decided to set up a first garment unit in Mekelle Industrial Park. By July 2018, KPR Export Plc was registered as a subsidiary in Ethiopia. The complete set-up of the first garment unit took about two months. Extensive training of the workforce took place in both Ethiopia and India.
At the beginning of 2019, the first exports were undertaken to the US and Europe. So far, the investment and establishment of KPR Export has led to the creation of 700 jobs in Ethiopia. At full capacity, the company will employ 1,500 machine workers who will produce 50,000 garment pieces per day for the world market.
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