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Panel highlights quality as key to manufacturing export success

Addis Ababa, May 10, 2024 (FBC) – Panelists participating in a discussion at the ongoing Made in Ethiopia Expo today emphasized the critical role of ensuring product quality in the Ethiopian manufacturing sector to achieve export competitiveness.

“Made In Ethiopia” Expo 2024 was inaugurated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at on Thursday at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa.

A panel discussion held today as part of the five day Expo focusing on strategies to enhance competition for national economic growth and import substitution with high-quality of Ethiopian products.

Industry Minister Melaku Alebel, Trade and Regional Integration Minister Gebremeskel Chala, Addis Ababa Science and Technology University President Dereje Engida, and Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association President Daniel Waktola participated in the discussion.

The panelists identified scaling up industrial capacity, enhancing competition, and aggressively replacing unnecessary imports with quality domestic products as key priorities.

Industry Minister Melaku Alebel stressed the need for significant improvements in product quality to compete effectively in export markets.

He outlined the importance of investing in advanced machinery, skilled human resources, high-quality inputs, infrastructure development, efficient logistics systems, and robust product certification processes.

Melaku commended the progress made in product quality compared to the previous year’s expo emphasizing the need for continued improvement through technical support, standardized production processes, and strong regulatory oversight.

Trade and Regional Integration Minister, Gebremeskel Chala for his part stated the importance of quality throughout the entire manufacturing process, beginning with design.

He stressed the need for products that meet international standards, reliability and prioritize consumer safety.

Citing Japan’s well-regarded manufacturing practices as an example, Gebremeskel underscored the importance of balancing product quality with competitive pricing to satisfy customer demands.

He further emphasized the crucial role of a strong private sector in driving production and productivity within the Ethiopian manufacturing sector.

The panel discussion also explored the importance of quality within the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Hence, Gebremeskel emphasized the need for Ethiopian manufacturers to prioritize quality to compete effectively in the expanded African market.

Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association President Daniel Waktola presented the pharmaceutical sector as a successful model for import substitution.

He revealed the industry’s achievements in local drug production and its plans for expanding into medicine manufacturing, as called by ENA.

Daniel underscored the need to replicating this model of quality-focused import substitution across other Ethiopian industries.

President of Addis Ababa Science and Technology University, Dereje Engida emphasized the university’s commitment to supporting the transformation of the manufacturing sector.

He described the University’s efforts to produce knowledgeable and skilled graduates, including specialized training programs developed in partnership with industry stakeholders.

Dereje cited the university’s collaboration with the Ethiopian Leather Institute to train personnel specifically for the leather industry as an example of this tailored approach.

He encouraged other industries to develop similar partnerships with universities to access customized training programs that address specific workforce needs.

The Made in Ethiopia Expo, launched yesterday to showcase the capabilities and potential of the Ethiopian manufacturing sector in the presence of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The focus on quality, highlighted by the panel discussion, underscores the industry’s commitment to achieving export competitiveness and contributing to Ethiopia’s economic growth.

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