Turkish textiles firm hand in hand with Ethiopian staff


A Turkish textiles manufacturing giant -- Ayka Addis Textiles and Investment Group -- says social support has always been one of its priorities since it began operating in Ethiopia 11 years ago.

Yusuf Aydeniz, CEO of Ayka Addis Textiles, told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview their factory has been able to forge uniquely amicable relations with the local population.

"We have provided the local population with clean drinking water by digging boreholes," he said, adding: "Supporting the local population was very important."

Ayka Addis already employs more than 7,000 people -- becoming one of a few companies that employs on such a large scale at a single factory in the country to date.

He said support programs for the local population were paying off.

"Ayka is very quiet and safe," he said implying that in good times or bad local people can be made protectors of one's property provided "trust" has been established.

In addition to employing thousands of Ethiopians, Aydeniz said, the firm had also "given seven years of non-stop training to 50,000 local people in numerous skills".

"We are a cultural bridge between the two countries. Our Turkish staff speak Amharic and many locals speak Turkish," he said.

Ayka Addis has a vertically integrated factory at Alem Gena -- a suburban area at the western edge of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa -- where the total population is a little over 10,000.

"We have also been the first foreign company to give $2 million in support of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam," he said referring to a mega construction of a hydro dam on the Nile with entirely local resources.

Ayka Addis, according to the CEO, is a $250 million textiles manufacturing plant that exports diverse products to Europe. Ayka Addis is the youngest of the investment group established in Istanbul in 1998 as a ready-made garment manufacturer.

"Producing on African soil, we have been able to keep a competitive pricing," Aydeniz said. "Our choice of Ethiopia was made by our vision to contribute to the economic and social development of the region."

According to him, Ethiopia is also very suitable for textiles production as the weather "is neither too hot, nor too cold".

According to Aydeniz, the textiles manufacturing plant -- it incorporates, spinning, weaving, dyeing and garment factories -- produces uncompromisingly high quality products for export.

"Some 80 percent of our customers are in Europe and remaining 20 percent from Japan," he said.

"The secret of the success is to like the country. If you want to be successful in a foreign country, you should like the country, you should respect the people and the laws of that country," he said.

Ayka, according to him, has its major customer base in Germany. The factory has a daily manufacturing capacity of 75, 000 pieces.

The volume of bilateral trade between Turkey and Africa totaled $19.5 billion in 2015, up 16 percent from 2008 and 258 percent from 2003, official figures show.

According to official data, Turkey's exports between 2003 and 2015 increased almost six fold whereas imports more than doubled during the same period.

"Turkey's share within the overall trade volume of Africa has reached 2.3 percent in 2014 from only 1 percent in 2003. Similarly, the share of Africa in Turkey's trade volume increased to 8.7 percent in 2015 from its 4.5 percent in 2003," Turkey's embassy in Ethiopia says.

Turkish investments have currently created jobs for 30,000 Ethiopians.

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