South African companies keen to invest in Ethiopia

South African investors and representatives of companies have expressed their readiness to invest in Ethiopia and do business with.

A South African business delegation comprising 22 investors and representatives of companies are currently in Ethiopia to explore investment potentials and opportunities in the country, particularly in manufacturing, agro-processing, energy and construction sectors.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Aklilu Hailemichael met with the South African Business Delegation on Monday (March 6, 2017) and briefed them on investment prospects in Ethiopia. 

Dr. Aklilu  underscored that the delegation's current move will promote Ethiopia's aspiration to boost the intra Africa trade and enhance south-south cooperation.

He said, "Ethiopia attracts investors from China and Turkey as well as the US and Europe; nevertheless we would like to also promote south-south economic cooperation between African countries."

Touching upon the huge investment potentials in Ethiopia, the State Minister said, "Ethiopia's geographic location, its active membership in regional and bilateral trade agreements, including various other platforms with the U.S, EU and COMESA region, and the favorable investment policies make it an attractive investment destination."

Ethiopia's young and productive work force which accounts for 60 percent of the population also offers significant comparative advantages to investors, he added.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Workneh Gebeyehu has left for Djibouti on February 26/2019 to attend the 46th Ordinary Session of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers.

In the Session from 27-28, 2019 the Foreign Ministers of the IGAD Member States will deliberate on reforming the organizational structure of IGAD as well as redefining its stature.

Currently, Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu is the Chair of the IGAD Council of Ministers.

The newly established Ethiopian Diaspora Agency will be officially inaugurated on March 1, 2019 in Addis Ababa.

At a press briefing she held this morning, Agency Director-General Selamawit Dawit said the diaspora are assets with potentials in technology, knowledge and skill that help the country through its journey of reform.

The agency is established to create better enabling environment for the diaspora as well as increase their engagement in nation building process, she added.

Selamawit said “all the Ethiopian diaspora will be served equally and their rights and benefits protected by working in collaboration with various stakeholders.”

The agency is preparing a database system in order to identify the number of Ethiopian Diaspora and where they reside, she stated.

It will also provide quality tools and clear information about the country by using enabling strategies to enhance the participation of the diaspora in various areas such as trade and investment.

Ethiopian Diaspora Agency will have regional branches and presence in about 60 missions. It is accountable to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

A reform set to improve public credit supply system which has been hampering citizens from starting business quickly is well underway, Prime Minister Abiy said on February 26/2019.

He added that various measures are being taken to ease the process of getting into business.

A national steering committee drawn from 10 institutions and headed by the premier was established several months back to solve the problem. The committee reported about the activities it carried out in a month.

Prime Minister Abiy said on the occasion the desire of the government to increase revenue and the time required to bring the able-bodied to work is paradoxical.

The red tape and lack of access to finance have been identified as major hurdles in this regard, he added.

Abiy stated that reforms on service delivery systems and legal frameworks that inhibit ease of business will be carried out.

Necessary measures will be taken to correct problems not identified by the government but discovered by the steering committee.

Collateral is required to get credit in Ethiopia, the prime minister said, adding that this practice has prevented creative persons with innovations and knowledge from accessing loans.

Thus, reform is underway to improve access to supply of public finance and loan, he revealed. This will enable young farmers and pastoralists to access loan easily, Abiy noted.

The prime minister stressed that public institutions should not limit themselves to identifying problems but bring about concrete change.

 

 

The United States of America have expressed their desire to strengthen trade and investment relations with Africa.

A two day U.S-Africa Trade and Investment Forum which was took place on the sidelines of the African Union Summit concluded on February 12/2019.

The forum was reportedly aimed at creating dialogue among U.S and African government officials and private sector leaders from each side.

Briefing journalists, U.S Ambassador to the African Union, Mary Beth Leonard, recalled the long history of trade ties between the United States and Africa and expressed the desire to further deepen them.

She added that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement has become a reality and is a real game changer for the way that international and U.S business looks this continent by creating more opportunity to both.

President and CEO of Corporate Council on Africa, Florizelle Liser, said on “we have a stake in supporting African regional integration in creating larger market and businesses that allow them to take advantage of economies of scale and to draw Africa into regional and global value chains.”

A lot is happening here in Ethiopia and the export range products to the US market is an example to what Africa can do and is doing across the continent, she added.

AU Trade and Industry Commissioner, Albert Muchanga said work is underway to develop regional value and supply chains as well as creating more stable and predictable policy framework to guide business decision and strategies on investing and trading in Africa.

He pointed out that work is advancing on liberalization of trade in goods and services as well as establishment of a payment and settlement platform that will give operational content to the agreement coming into force.

“Through the African Continental Free Trade Area, we are offering large economies of scale and scope to the private sector,” he said, adding that the content trade liberalization and continental integration gives the incentives to invest in larger scale and longer period.

Some forty-nine countries have signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, and 18 of the 22 needed to bring it into force have already ratified it.

 

President Sahlework Zewude held discussion with heads of FAO, UNESCO, and FIFA at the National Palace on Feburary12/2019.

In her meeting with FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, the President shared view on food security issues in Africa.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Graziano said “We also report on gender balance inside the organization, particular here in Africa, where we believe that women can play a vital role in development especially in agriculture and food security.”

According to the Director General, the World Food and Agriculture Organization is strengthening its cooperation with Ethiopia on the ways of sustaining food security as the current reform has created a favorable platform.

UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Priority Africa and External Relations, Firmin Edouard Matoko for his part said his organization is working on boosting up cooperation with Ethiopia.

He pointed out that UNESCO is in view of evaluating the situation in Lalibela and it will launch a big project to restore the historic rock-hewn church from damage.

Likewise, FIFA Under Secretary-General Fatima Samba Diouf Samoura, has discussed with President Sahlework on Ethiopia’s football development and the FIFA’s memorandum of understanding reached with the African Union and African Football Confederation (CAF).

According to the Under Secretary General, FIFA is keen to work with Ethiopia on education, governance, safety and security on football infrastructure.

FIFA has opened its third regional office in Africa in Addis Ababa, the office is fully functional and hosted training for 16 members of the Football Association of Ethiopia, she said.

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