Shifting Trend in Furniture Industry:
The making of household materials using wood has been part of Ethiopian history for centuries. Furniture manufacturing has also seen a rise in the last decade. With the ever-growing construction of hotels and residences of different types, the furniture business has been entertaining quite a surge in demand in recent years. However, the expected benefits of this rising demand have been lost to imports with little appetite for locally manufactured furnishings. However, a slowly shifting interest of the public in locally manufactured furniture might see a more expanding local sector with a potential for exports, writes EBR’s Trualem Asmare.
It is believed that furniture design in Ethiopia dates back to the Axumite dynasty, one of the ancient civilizations in the world. Ethiopian furniture has lived as a reflection of the history of the country in a designed materialistic form. Furniture plays a crucial role in interior design in Ethiopia with a historical-cultural mix being augmented by western trends. The matter is also influenced by trade relations with Arabia, India, and Rome that have lasted for centuries. One can now see the evident various types, designs, shapes, and materials of the furniture.
As much as the use of the different kinds of woods to create home furniture has been part of the country’s history, its advancement doesn’t represent its age. Ethiopian furniture has been dependent on imported raw materials and products. According to Melaku Alebel, Minister of Industry, the country imports 30Pct of the finished furniture it demands from abroad. However, the figure is much higher when considering the volume of imports of inputs and semi-processed materials. Hotels, apartments, and governmental offices are among the groups of the major customers of imported furniture.
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