Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Farming changes may hold key to Ethiopia's industrial goals, says expert

(Feb 2, 2015, (ADDIS ABABA), (Reuters)))--Ethiopia's ambition to become a manufacturing hub may hinge on Khalid Bomba's ability to transform small-scale farming just as much as it relies on new railways, roads and other more obvious signs of change in a nation once brought to its knees by famine.

The 46-year-old one-time investment banker is now chief executive of Ethiopia's Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA). His task is to boost output from a sector that employs 85 percent of the workforce, most of them tilling plots of less than two hectares.
"The cheap labour for industrial manufacturing is going to come from the rural areas," he told Reuters in an interview at the Addis Ababa headquarters. "You are not going to have people coming off the farm if productivity levels don't increase."
Ethiopia boasts some of the highest economic growth in Africa, at 8 percent or more a year, much of it fuelled by a huge state infrastructure programme that includes a new railway to Djibouti's port, a city metro in the capital and vast hydro-electric dams, all aimed at attracting industrial investment. Read more from Reuters »

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