BRIDGES, a new initiative financed by Mastercard Foundation is set to help Ethiopia make its industrial parks more productive by improving the skills of employees and facilitating linkages of the Parks with small and medium local companies.
Officially launching program, which will be implemented over the coming five years, the Ethiopian Investment Commission and First Consult have signed agreement in the capital, Addis Ababa. The partnership aims to implement the digitization of the labour supply and matching database for factories within seven industrial parks in Ethiopia.
The program fully funded by Young Africa Works in Ethiopia imitative of Mastercard Foundation, will be led the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) and implemented in seven industrial parks namely, Adama, Debre Berhan, Dire Dawa, Bahir Dar, Hawassa, Mekelle, and Kombolcha industrial parks.
Over the coming five years the program is expected to support the creation of close to 600,000 jobs for young people (80% women) and 15,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). “The program allows young people coming mainly from rural parts of the country to be familiarized with the disciplines of manufacturing industries,” said Michael Addisu, Team Leader at BRIDGES Program, indicating that one of the objectives of the program is to provide soft skills training to the employees coming to work industrial parks.
The program also involves expanding Industrial park employees’ database, which includes information related to the status and has been tested in Hawassa Industrial Park. So that the country will have employees database which allows it to allocate necessary trained employees for all industrial parks in the country including privately owned ones, according to Lelise Neme Commissioner of EIC, who inked the partnership this afternoon.
Attracted the the generous investment incentives of the government and shying away from increasing labor in Asia, many international brand such as, H&M, and PVH, which owns the iconic Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, IZOD, ARROW, Speedo, have been flocking to Ethiopia over the past few years. For allowing these international companies to pay less than a dollar per day, Ethiopia has been subject to critic.
The government has been arguing that salary increment follows improvement of the productivity of the employees and equipping them with the right skills and disciplines needed to operate efficiently in manufacturing industry.