MILAN — Italy’s Calzedonia Group inaugurated its first African manufacturing plant in Ethiopia last week. Called Itaca Textile Plc, it is located in Macallè, in the Tigrai region.
The factory will produce knitwear, pajamas and leggings for the group’s Calzedonia, Tezenis and Intimissimi labels. It includes all steps of production, from quality control to cutting and ironing, employing 1,000 people. That number is expected to grow to 1,500 by mid-2019. The group guarantees free transportation and canteen food for all.
The project is also part of a humanitarian initiative promoted by the group and Fondazione San Zeno, created in 1999 by Calzedonia president and founder Sandro Veronesi. “It offers a great opportunity for young Ethiopians who want to study and train,” said Veronesi. “The next step is to find suppliers, insert new technologies while continuing to train, in order to be innovative and avant-garde.”
Veronesi said Ethiopia is still under the radar for most European and Italian companies. However, a favorable regime of duties, and the availability of workers and raw materials, were some of the reasons for the company to invest in the region.
The group has production sites in Italy, Sri Lanka, Croatia, Rumania, Bulgaria and Serbia.
Work on Itaca began in 2016 when