Inside Ethiopia’s Growing Economy at the Hawassa Industrial Park

I just wrapped up a shoot in Ethiopia for an upcoming special called “Ethiopia, Guatemala, Hunger, and Hope,” airing on public television across the US this November. My goal is to show Americans the value of smart development and productive trade policies — and a big part of smart development is ensuring that Ethiopians have access to quality jobs, where they’ll make double the income that they would on a farm. To make the point that Ethiopia aspires to become a new source of cheap labor for the world’s more developed countries, we sweet-talked our way into one of 50 massive industrial sheds at the Hawassa Industrial Park, south of Addis Ababa. While this is hard and repetitive labor that earns very little money on a rich-world scale, Ethiopia knows that Japan and China started out as cheap labor markets before economically evolving — and it hopes to do the same.