July 22, 2017 - Toyota Tsusho Corporation, a Japanese company, globally known in automotive manufacturing, has targeted Ethiopia as its new African destination in the coming few years, according to the Reporter.
Yoshihiko Yokoi, vice president of Toyota Corporation, who is also chairman of Japanese Association of Corporate Executives, told The Reporter that Ethiopia will be the next destination for the company he is leading and for other Japanese investors, as well.
As a startup, Toyota has already finalized a deal to joint venture with another Japanese company and enter the Ethiopian market, the vice president told The Reporter. According to him, Toyota has already bought 40 percent stake from Hiroki Co. Ltd, another Japanese firm, which is in the pipeline to be engaged in garment business in Ethiopia.
Hiroki Co. Ltd is setting up a USD 400,000 manufacturing operation in Ethiopia, where it will produce shoes and other luxurious accessories made from sheep leather.
"We decided to open a factory in Ethiopia because of the availability of quality raw leather material. It is one of the finest leathers in the world," Youngil Song, president of Hiroki Addis, was quoted as saying in a Japanese news outlet.
Hiroki will reside at the recently inaugurated Mekele Industrial Park. Currently, the company is providing training to Ethiopian workers at the local Chinese plant and has brought experts from Japan to train the rest of the staff in Ethiopia.
Vice president of Toyota Group, recommends light manufacturing for Ethiopia
"We choose the light manufacturing industry to start businesses in Ethiopia, because of the gap in skilled manpower and due to concerns we have regarding safety, security and hygiene related issues," the vice president told The Reporter.
Apart from this, Ethiopia will be a significantly important for Toyota and other companies from Japanese owing to its proximity to Japan through a maritime route and growing population, he said.
The vice president, Yoshihiko Yokoi plans to visit Ethiopia in September 2017.