Addis Ababa has probably the highest density of alumni of any City in the world. It has competition mainly from Karachi. So a visit to the All African leather fair in Addis is always going to be highlighted by many greetings from old friends. More so this time since things are happening in the Ethiopian leather industry which brought in the worlds chemical and machinery companies. So friends and alumni like Stephen Trantum, Dave Eldred and Mark Royal were all present.
I’ve been going to Ethiopia since the mid 80s and for most of that time Addis has been outstanding for just not changing compared with almost any place in China which seems to have transformed itself every five years. It was symptomatic of the dreadful last quarter century the sub-Saharan economies have had. But in the last two or three years the Ethiopian economy has started to accelarate, escaping the recession and steadily growing at between 5 and 7%. And leather industry has been determined to join in spurred by heavy duties to stop the export of wet blue and crust and a bundle of incentives for inward investment in footwear.
Addis is a massive building site. Many new hotels have been opened so you now have a choice beyond the rather obscene Sheraton and the somewhat careworn Hilton. Companies like ARA are moving in with shoe plants and long time Ethiopian hand Pittards have just bought the Ethiopian Share Tannery they have been managing for some years. They have already made a transformation and with a huge plant able to make in volume all the lines they have been producing from sheep, goat and bovine for some years they now have an outstanding route to growth. With CEO Reg Hankey as an alumnus the University is hoping to extend its training activities through new style partnerships incorporating both greater geographic spread and value chain capabity.
Corium Club News
With the leather industry apparently recovering quickly from recession hopefully Corium events this year will see everyone coming out of their bunkers for fresh air. The Annual Dinner is Friday 19th March at the Univetsity and should be a good chance to see the new refurbishments in the BSLT and the Tannery.
There will be the usual party in Hong Kong although the setting may be slightly changed to fit the new APLF timing. Looks Monday 29th March. There is also a Corium event, long overdue, in Scotland on the 15th April.
There is Corium Club Facebook page where all these events are kept up to date and other news and views get shared.
9th February, 2010