Eritrea is aiming at creating a modern private sector to enhance its citizens’ well-being. Looking back into history, before Eritrea was illegally annexed by and federated with its southern neighbor; it possessed a sophisticated urban and industrial infrastructure. With the exception of South Africa, Eritrea, under Italian colonization, was known as the most industrialized nation on the African continent. Under the British protectorate, however, the country was deliberately destroyed and its infrastructure was made unviable for geopolitical reasons. Its industrial materials were dismantled and exported to Ethiopia, Kenya and other destinations, even British mainland itself. Eritrea was robbed of industry.
Fast forward to today. Independent Eritrea has great potential in developing its economy by creating and surpassing the type businessfriendly environment that once flourished pre-World War II. In other words, Eritrea has the latent potential to develop an industry that will provide not only direct economic benefits but enhance skills and competences while expanding in terms of supply to domestic, regional and international markets.
The Government of Eritrea has placed high priority on building national regulations with a focus on capacity-building. In addition, Eritrea places great focus on sustainable, inclusive socioeconomic development through productive exploitation of the country’s abundant natural resources within a business-friendly climate and with a strong commitment to expanding basic infrastructures related to especially sectors of health, agriculture, and energy.The area of energy shows promise. Energy production and distribution— rural and urban households—is increasing and demand continues to rise with new modern practices surmounting traditional ones. The energy sector and the companies within are addressing demand and assisting development and economic growth. One of these companies is EriSoc Company. In today’s issue, I will give you a glance from the information I gathered during my visit to their warehouse and how the company contributes to national development programs.
EriSoc, an energy company, started its work during the armed struggle. In fact, the Eritrea People Liberation Front (EPLF) was already looking at environmentally friendly methods of securing of energy resources for cooking. Hence, in the liberated zones, a system of stove-oven was introduced with the idea of keeping both the house and the environment safe. Engineer Tekle Hitsa explained that the stoves allowed EPLF and Eritrean households, for the first time ever, to divorce cooking from combustion of lumbar, dramatically reducing the risk of deforestation while answering to the daily needs of the people and the Front.According to the manager, Engineer Tekle Hintsa, EriSoc Company was established by the Eritrean state in 1995 in the Asmara suburb of Kushet, which built a factory to tend to the needs of producing environment-friendly and energy-saving products. He explained that the factory created 15 different products in its production line and that it has produced stoveovens, mini-stoves, propane gas tanks, solar systems designed for heating tea, a temperature sensors for fermented flours, modified cranes for lifting six quintals-worth of material, mogogo adhanet stoves (traditional stoves for fermented breadstuffs), lamps, fernelo stoves (traditional mini-stoves), modified smokeless fernelo, ceremonial mini-stoves and food choppers. For the past twenty years, people have used the company’s products especially stoves, mini-stoves and cylinders, fulfilling high energy demands nationwide.Initially, the company designed large stoves, thirteen-kilogram propane gas tanks and mini-stoves. EriSoc imported materials such as valves, regulators, high grade stainless steel metal and other ready-made machines from certified foreign companies. In 1996, the company started to progressively produce newer stoves and products, totaling more than fifteen and helping to reduce national imports for cookware.
The company later contemplated introducing new technological innovations for cutting, forming and blending various products such that it could replace imports with domestic products. The company also sought to reduce its own import expenditures on foreign materials to builds its products. Production increased with the introduction of the following: large- and mediumsized stove ovens designed for foodstuffs like pastries; four kinds of cylinders; and a diverse array of mini-stoves, among other items that have enabled the factory and nation to become more self-sufficient and depend more domestic materials.
Engineer Tekle explained that, at the moment, 350,000 gas tanks, several stove-ovens, numerous mini-stoves and others products extend the reach and scope of EriSoc products throughout the country. EriSoc products are changing the living standard of citizens while reducing the risk of deforestation.
The assortment of stoves is highly sought after by the private and public sectors, especially those in the domestic private sector, civil societies and governmental institutions as well as neighboring countries. In fact, Engineer Tekle stressed that the factory exports to countries such as Sudan and SouthSudan.
There are further requests registered from other countries such as Mozambique, Zambia, Angola and South Africa, due to EriSoc products’ quality and durability.
Engineer Tekle points out that Erisoc Company has received international certification alongside well-known multinational firms such as Shell, Agip and Total. As part of this certification process, for example, all thirteen-kilogram gas tanks are tested proper volumetric compression capacity by ensuring that they can withstand the pressure resistance of 81 units of gas at the required standard deviations in order to meet international criteria for quality and durability. Notably, regional competitors often fail to meet such standard, producing tanks that explode at only 35 units. In line with quality control measures, EriSoc produces gas tanks of three, six, and thirteen kilograms to individual, group and family sectors on the domestic market.
It also provides thirty-five kilogram gas tanks to hotels and larger business sectors.Notably, the Eritrean firm responds to requests from customers of their products by labeling merchandise and providing free pre- and post-sale services. EriSoc also provides training to operators of their products, teaching them how to use the stoves properly and safely. Technical support for troubleshooting is also included. EriSoc’s technicians may even provide onsite visits and provide direct service to consumers.
The warranties on products last up to six months, after which point the company will provide repair services at a small fee to customers.
EriSoc merchandise is manufactured with high-grade stainless steel purchased from internationally-licensed steel mills, ensuring quality and durability for long-term use.
Additionally, baking food using EriSoc products affords comfort and peace of mind to the Eritrean and international consumers, as they are designed intently to reduce health impairment otherwise caused by products they have replaced.
EriSoc stoves are preeminent in quality and durability when compared with other stoves sold on the international market.
Additionally, stoves’ prices are half of those produced in Europe and Asia.
EriSoc’s mini-stoves come equipped with ancillary gear to provide disable persons, elderly individuals and pregnant mothers with comfortable use of the product. Responding to customer needs over the years, the mini-stove has been modified to include a convenient internal storage shelf and a lamplight for those lacking of electricity. EriSoc innovations are well-known all over the country including in remote areas for its excellence, stability and portability. The goods have improved the lives of all layers of the Eritrean society.
Engineer Tekle pointed out with the company’s plans to boost manufacturing capacity, improve the quality of products, introduce new products with even greater environmental impact and to capture a larger share of the international market. Such efforts by the state-owned company highlight the looming economic growth, reduced unemployment, curbed fuel consumption and improved quality of life of Eritrean citizens, in addition to citizens of the world.
The future of EriSoc, steeped in the history and values of the Eritrean liberation struggle, appears to be bright, inspiring a new wave of similar, socially-conscious businesses for the development and improvement of Eritrean and international society.