Ethiopia ’s best foot forward

By Anna Patricia Valerio

Tal Dehtiar, founder of sustainable shoe brand Oliberté, the world’s first Fair Trade-certified footwear manufacturing company.
Tal Dehtiar, founder of sustainable shoe brand Oliberté, the world’s first Fair Trade-certified footwear manufacturing company.

(Devex) Everyone knows the popular real estate phrase — location, location, location — but few would use it to describe Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

A young shoe entrepreneur named Tal Dehtiar is one of those few.

The founder of Oliberté, the world’s first Fair Trade-certified footwear manufacturing company, established a factory in Addis Ababa in 2012 and insists that some of the world’s most overlooked places can provide unique competitive advantages.

“It’s been our experience that Ethiopia’s economy is relatively stable and open to foreign investment,” Dehtiar asserted. “African countries are new territory for small foreign business and though it is expensive — in terms of costs, mistakes and patience — we have been extremely patient, used our capital wisely, and when the time required, brought on key investors and lenders to support our growth.”

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