Ethiopia injects US$4 billion into sugar factories
In its bid to become a major sugar exporter, Ethiopia is constructing 10 sugar factories following the injection of a US$4.6 billion investment.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, while inaugurating the Fincha Amerti Neshe Hydropower project at the weekend, said construction of the 10 factories across the country was progressing well.
The multi-purpose Fincha project, with a capacity to generate 97 MW of electricity, will see the expansion of the Fincha sugar factory by 6000 hectares of land, a 40 percent increase.
“The sugar development project will bring about technology transfer thereby creating jobs,” Zenawi said.
“The irrigation development as well as the design of the factories has a special place in the country’s history as it is done by local professionals”.
The development of the sugar factories is part of Ethiopia’s five year Growth and Transformation Plan, which aims to undertake a multi billion investment on various development projects to reduce poverty, setting the pace for Ethiopia’s quest to become a middle income country by 2025.
The sugar factories are currently being constructed in Beles in the central Amhara region, Wolkait in the northern Tigray area, Kesem in the north eastern Afar regional state and in the South Omo Zone of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ region.
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, the state-owned company, said the construction of the sugar factories will help Ethiopia become one of the world’s top 10 sugar exporters to the international market.
The corporation said foreign investment is being sought to develop other projects on 5 million hectares of land that has been identified for sugar production.
According to available information, Ethiopia imported 150,000 metric tons of sugar last year.
The government aims to become a self-sufficient sugar producer by the end of 2013 and increase production eightfold to 2.3 million tons by mid 2015, creating a surplus of 1.25 million tons for export.