Al Ghurair Group, a Dubai-based diversified business group, has finalised plans to establish an aluminium refinery in Ethiopia at a price tag of $50m in a joint project with existing local partner Tracon Trading, and located in the Lebu area of the capital of Addis Ababa.

At a high-level meeting, President Dr. Mulatu Teshome affirmed the government’s support for the factory, while about 30,000 m2 of investment land has already been acquired for the project on lease from the Addis Ababa City Administration.

In terms of finance, Al Ghurair will fund 50% the project in the form of equity while Tracon Trading will look for funds from local financiers to provide its own equal share of the capital.

Al Ghurair previously supplying aluminum to Ethiopia, jointly with Tracon Trading, but the construction of the facility on African home soil will enable skills and knowledge transfer.

Following talks with President Dr. Mulatu Teshome and Kebede Chane, Minister of Trade, Al Ghurair CEO Majid Saif Al Ghurair detailed that initial production capacity would be 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes of aluminium, and that with preparations finalised, operations will begin shortly.

Africa Global Business Forum: President Mulatu Teshome of Ethiopia

Elias Omer, Tracon Trading deputy manager, noted that the factory would be an invaluable asset, help to satisfy both the local demand for aluminum and provide surplus for export to eastern African countries – indicating that production would likely commence within a year.

Omer also told local newspaper The Reporter that Al Ghurair had been “highly attracted by Ethiopia, its geographical location and conducive environment,” and that if the partnership worked out well, the UAE group could consider extending its investment to other sectors.

The announcement follows just weeks after UAE textile manfucturer Abughazaleh announced plans to open an apparel factory in Ethiopia in 2015, citing both the labout potential of the country, but also the significant and growing domestic market for high-quality fabrics and fashionware.

Ethiopia’s foreign minister, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has meanwhile been active in talks with Qatar, led on the other side by Dr. Khalid bin Thani Al Thani, chairman of Ezdan Holding Group, who highlighted his company’s particular interest healthcare and other construction activities.

Oman is also looking at opportunities in Ethiopia, and in June its Public Authority for Export Promotion & Export Development (PAIPED) hosted a workshop on boosting exports to Ethiopia, citing the exciting growth figures and prospects for the country.