Factories are Pro-Poor: A Meditation on Huajian in Ethiopia

1 Apr

This is the kind of honest and non-romanticized look at poverty and development that the world needs more of.

Campaign for Boring Development

A guest post by Frances Pontemayor

Can there be something less glamorous than a factory? Industrialization is gritty, sooty, sweaty – it just doesn’t align with the “tragically beautiful” poverty that development practitioners in Europe and North America dream of fighting with organic farms and $50 laptops. But at what point do implicit (never explicit) aesthetic preferneces start to blinker us from what really works?

Take the Huajian Shoe Company. It’s one of China’s leading shoemakers. I’m sure you’ve never heard of it, but if you’ve ever bought a pair of Naturalizers, Clarks, Guess or Tommy Hilfiger shoes, you’ve probably worn shoes made at a Huajian factory.

In January 2012, Huajian became one of the first Chinese manufacturing companies to launch large-scale operations overseas, opening a big-time shoe factory just outside Addis Abeba, in Ethiopia. The company produces 2,000 pairs of shoes everyday and employs over 1,750 workers at its…

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One Response to “Factories are Pro-Poor: A Meditation on Huajian in Ethiopia”


  1. Ethiopia Vies for China’s Vanishing Factory Jobs – Businessweek | CHINDIA ALERT: You'll be living in their world, very soon - July 25, 2014

    […] Factories are Pro-Poor: A Meditation on Huajian in Ethiopia […]

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