Facilitating high-value apparel exports with strong participation from Ethiopian firms that are globally competitive as a result of technology transfer from quality foreign direct investment, with a high level of in-country value addition.

Ethiopia continues to strengthen its efforts at building export infrastructure with the aim of becoming Africa’s leading manufacturing hub. Garment manufacturing is considered an important sub-sector in this regard. Comprising over 80% of the country’s export earnings, the sector makes enormous contribution to the national economy. Enterprise Partners committed to building value through the multidimensional intersection of cotton, textiles, and apparel markets. This has facilitated the creation of thousands of jobs, income and knowledge transfer enabling Ethiopia to exceed export performance expectations.

Enterprise Partners worked across the entirety of the garment value chains and markets in Ethiopia’s cotton, industrial labour, textile, and apparel industries to foster inclusive economic growth. It focused on supporting women workers who fill the overwhelming majority of jobs in garments manufacturing.

Enterprise Partners encouraged high-value apparel exports, helping attract quality foreign investment and facilitated private sector contribution by ensuring a stronger participation of Ethiopian firms and SMEs. Results show a significant level of in-country value addition that spearheaded decent factory jobs, especially for poor women, and higher incomes for cotton farmers.

EP’s interventions carried out a number of important activities, including implementing cotton seed multiplication systems, contract farming with the textile industries, establishing a labour system in industrial parks, green industrialisation and buyer-led investments as well as developing the National Apparel Strategy and the National Cotton Development Strategy.

Theory of Change



Enterprise Partners works to create a sustainable market-driven labour system that ensures factories operate with greater productivity and employee retention while providing decent jobs for the youth and women. EP’s flagship intervention at the Hawassa Industrial Park – HIPSTER – provides worker sourcing, screening, grading, allocation and soft skill training to all hired factory workers. Efforts led to the establishment of sourcing and support system for a qualified, and skilled labour force that created employment opportunities for low-income women in Ethiopia. The labour market model has since been scaled-up at the national level and replicated in other industrial parks.


Cotton is an integral component of the textile industry and has been growing in Ethiopia for centuries in agro-ecologies ranging from arid to semi-arid lowlands. Currently, small-scale farmers account for about 30% of the production while commercial farms account for the rest. Ethiopia’s advantage in cotton farming is the availability of land at a competitive price. According to the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute’s (ETIDI) estimates, at least 3 million hectares of land are available and suitable for cotton farming.

Enterprise Partners provided assistance in initiating a supply of improved quality seedlings, contract Farming (CF) models and green friendly ventures to overcome market barriers. Targeted initiatives include Ethiopia’s National Cotton Strategy, proper cotton seed multiplication systems, and finding ways to connect the country’s cotton farmers with its textile industry. Through these efforts, we ensured farmers transitioned to use better quality seeds and obtained access to cost-efficient seed multiplication technologies that made seeds more affordable. From scaling-up cotton production to improving post-harvest seed processing, we worked to increase cotton production, create greater access to investment, and help producers to connect with a competitive international textile industry. Our output results successfully indicate that scalable impact has been created towards creating efficient value chain coordination and an integrated local supply of quality cotton/lint to the industry.


Enterprise Partners launched a number of initiatives in Ethiopia’s apparel market. The National Apparel Strategy, which EP supported in the drafting, has helped to improve the supply of quality inputs by SMEs, advocated policies and initiatives to attract foreign investment, and developed an industrialisation strategy for Ethiopia, which puts environmental and social sustainability at its core.