May 2019 Report Release


Paul M. Barrett and Dorothée Baumann-Pauly

A new frontier in garment manufacturing

In recent years, Ethiopia has launched a bold economic and social experiment by inviting the global garment industry to set up shop in the East African country. The CBHR team researched the challenges and opportunities. Read our recommendations for the Ethiopian Government.


Hawassa Industrial Park: The work pace is intense, but this is not a traditional sweatshop. Read about working in the Hawassa Industrial Park.

Ethiopia has the lowest wages in any garment-producing country.

One place for the apparel industry to start is ensuring that Ethiopian factory employees are well-trained, motivated, and paid enough to afford basic necessities.

Or Ethiopia can end up like Bangladesh.

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Top fashion brands are sourcing from Ethiopia’s Hawassa Industrial Park.

Drawn by newly built industrial parks and a range of financial incentives, manufacturers for some of the world’s best-known brands—among them, H&M, Hanes, and PVH (Calvin Klein, Izod, Tommy Hilfiger)—employ tens of thousands of Ethiopian workers in a nascent sector the government predicts will one day have billions of dollars in sales. Read our 5 recommendations for foreign manufacturers and Western brands.

(An earlier version of this report inaccurately stated that Gap Inc. and Guess Inc. source clothing from Ethiopia. They do not.)