Manufacturing Infrastructures: Developing Industry Parks for the global clothing industry in Ethiopia

Authors: Elke Beyer*, Technische Universität Berlin
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Economic Geography, Development
Keywords: Infrastructure, Clothing Industry, Global Production Networks, Ethiopia
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Gallier B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Currently, Ethiopia’s federal government aims to transform the country by setting up a network of large-scale Industry Parks for light manufacturing, with a strong focus on attracting global clothing brands and suppliers to set up or relocate production facilities there. In this paper, I discuss the socio-material infrastructure brought into place in this endeavour and how it articulates and embeds a particular set of uneven spatial and social relations. Geographically, I focus on the set-up of large industrial establishments near Addis Ababa, their urban context and impact, and their linkage to regional and national infrastructure systems. The paper traces the complex web of actors involved in the conception, planning and realization of these transnational spaces of production, including not only workers from all over Ethiopia, various national development agencies, global business consultants, architecture and construction firms, but also land and ownership titles, networks of power supply and transport, flows of raw materials, accessories and money. The paper draws on recent research during site visits in Addis Ababa region, plans and policy documents, as well more than 30 interviews conducted within the framework of an on-going study of production spaces linking up as a transnational commodity chain.

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