By Josephine Akaerr, Special Correspondent
Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, has inaugurated the Bure Integrated Agro-Industrial Park (IAIP) in Amhara State.
In his remarks, Abiy stated that his government regards the integrated agro-industrial parks as a priority. Referring to the Christian Bible and the first public miracle of Jesus when he turned water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana, the Prime Minister called the Bure IAIP the “Cana of Ethiopia”, which, he said, is expected to lead the country to prosperity by exporting agricultural products to the global market.
Abiy thanked the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) for supporting the government in all stages of the park’s development. The Bure IAIP is one of four for which UNIDO has provided technical assistance in the design and planning, including developing detailed feasibility studies, environment and social impact assessment studies, detailed engineering designs and building capacities of the Regional State Industrial Development Corporations (RIPDC). Through the Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) Ethiopia, UNIDO has also supported investment promotion and funds mobilization for the development of the IAIPs.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by senior government officials including the Deputy Prime Minister, Demeke Mekonnen; Chief of the Amhara Regional State, Agegnehu Teshager; and other senior federal officials.
With a total investment of over US$169m, the Bure IAIP which is located on 260.5 hectares of land in the first phase, is complete with water, electricity and telecom connectivity, roads and other infrastructure, including offices factory sheds and staff accommodation. The IAIP will focus on the processing of edible oil, maize, soya beans, honey, milk, meat, and horticulture, as well as poultry and eggs. To date, 15 investors, including local and foreign companies, are at various stages of contracting with the Amhara RIPDC for occupancy of the IAIP.
UNIDO has been supporting Ethiopia in the development of the IAIPs programme since its inception in close coordination with other development partners including, the FAO, AfDB, EU, AICS and BMZ within the framework of the PCP Ethiopia.
In addition to Bure IAIP: three others; Bulbula IAIP in Oromia, Yirgalem IAIP in SNNP (now Sidama) and Baeker IAIP in Tigray will be inaugurated in the coming months. The IAIP initiative is expected to help drive the structural transformation of the economy and support the country in reaching its Vision 2025 goal of becoming a light manufacturing hub in Africa.