Visit to Ethiopia

Development Minister Müller launches TVET centre for the textile sector in Ethiopia

Federal Minister for Development Gerd Müller, Tobias Fischer (H&M) and M.A. Rahim (DBL Group) at the signing of a letter of intent to create a TVET centre for the textile industry in Ethiopia

Press release of 04.04.2017 |

ADDIS ABABA/BERLIN – Ethiopia's booming textile industry is struggling to find skilled workers. In response, Germany intends to set up a vocational training centre in Mekelle, Ethiopia, as part of its development cooperation. Development Minister Gerd Müller, who is visiting Ethiopia at the moment, announced the project today together with H&M and DBL Group from Bangladesh. Both companies are members of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, which Minister Müller initiated. The new project will benefit from the many years of experience the companies have gained in working to make textile production more sustainable. The German Development Ministry will contribute one million euros to help fund the vocational training centre; the two companies will contribute another one million euros together.

The aim is to firmly establish high social and environmental standards in the growing textiles export industry in Ethiopia from the very beginning. Appropriate training of future skilled workers and managers will create the foundation for that.

Federal Minister Gerd Müller and model and BMZ textiles ambassador Barbara Meier visiting Jay Jay Textile Productions in Addis Ababa

"We're taking our Textiles Partnership from the negotiating table to the factory floor. We have the opportunity in Ethiopia to get things right from the very beginning – things that, in other places, had been done wrong for a long time. I am glad that we have partners such as H&M and DBL Group, who are very engaged in our Textiles Partnership and who can tackle the challenges at hand with experience and determination. Together, we are offering young people a chance to land a good job with decent conditions," Minister Müller said during his visit to Africa.

This cooperation is a good illustration of the positive impact the Textiles Partnership has on the textiles sector. In its home country of Bangladesh DBL Group is already successfully involved in development cooperation with Germany. It is setting an example of how to implement labour, social and environmental standards in textile factories. H&M, too, has been sourcing from Bangladesh for many years, taking a leading role in efforts to establish fair working conditions and protect the environment. Both companies are now playing their part in developing a sustainable textiles industry in Ethiopia.

The textiles and garment sector in Ethiopia has enormous potential and can draw on a big pool of labour; yet, it is also facing huge challenges. In the coming years, the country will need an estimated 350,000 workers and demand is already outstripping supply. Over the next three years, the vocational training centre will train at least 20,000 skilled workers for textiles and garment production, upskill employees and qualify staff for mid-level management.

Germany is already involved in development cooperation activities in vocational education and training to make the textiles and garment industry in Ethiopia sustainable. The BMZ is, for instance, supporting measures to train labour inspectors, expand environmental management systems in industrial parks and promote the dialogue between management and workers.

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