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.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn early inaugurated the 4.2 billion Birr Municipal Expressway built in the suburb of the city.
The road which is part of the 84.6 kilometer Addis-Adama Expressway is believed to alleviate congestion and traffic accident along the Addis-Adama route.
The 28.1 kilometers and 60m wide expressway stretches from Lebu along Akaki to IT Park (Goro).
The project demonstrates the government’s commitment to develop transport infrastructures across the nation, Hailemariam said during the inaugural event.
The Premier indicated continued government effort to build road infrastructures which he said will immensely contribute to fast economic growth.
Huge portion of the nation’s budget goes to expanding road infrastructure, he said, urging stakeholders in fields of construction to promote quality based infrastructure development.
The contractor China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) finalized the project six months ahead of the original schedule.
Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia La Yifan on his part spoke of the significance of the project in terms of facilitating the expansion of investment in Ethiopia.
Some 75 per cent of the total project cost was obtained from the Export-Import Bank of China while the Ethiopian government covered the balance.
Chinese and Ethiopian officials attended today’s inaugural event.
Efforts to substitute imports by local industries has been remarkable, according to the Ministry of Industry (MoI).
Encouraging results have been achieved in the volume of locally manufactured goods, Melaku Taye, Corporate Communication Director at the Ministry told ENA.
The government is encouraging domestic production and discouraging imports of consumer goods to facilitate the ground for the expansion of industries in the country.
Ethiopia’s private sector is considered as an engine for industrial development, Melaku said, indicating that the move promotes industrialization by offering a package of subsidies to local industries.
Sub-sectors such as leather, textile, metals, chemicals and construction inputs as well as electric and electronic products and bio- technology industries all receive due attention in the process.
Import substitution saves foreign currency, with such trends likely to increase and expand covering the targeted sectors.
The country had been fully depending on imported metals, according to the official, who said export of metals commenced, demonstrating the country’s potential in the sector.
The promotion of domestic production of such goods will accelerate the transition from agriculture to industry led economy, Melaku said.
Discouraging import will further be maintained by initiating capacity building programs, increasing domestic production and expansion of industrial parks.
Fields of agro processing, aquaculture-industrial fishery, furniture products, medium density fireboard, and others will enjoy increased government attention in GTP-2 period.
The director mentioned capacity limitations, shortage of inputs, fluctuations in prices in international markets and delays by investors to launch projects as challenges in import substitution sector.
According to Samuel Halala, Director-General for Chemical and Construction Inputs Industries Development Institute, the country’s economic growth is fueling consumers’ demand.
Currently, the nation has been undertaking huge infrastructures and service sector that needs large inputs, he said.
Small and medium industries will benefit a lot from import substitution, Samuel said, further mentioning its role in creating jobs for the unemployed.
Import substitution incorporates global standards which encourages competition among domestic companies.
Increased domestic production of fertilizers, ceramics and others were mentioned showing positive move towards import substitution.
Finland has expressed its keenness to strengthen its trade and investment ties with Ethiopia, according to the country’s Ambassador.
After farewell talks held with President Mulatu Teshome, Finnish Ambassador to Ethiopia Sirpa Maenpaa told journalists that Finland is interested to invest in Ethiopia’s priority areas owing to its rapid economic growth.
The ambassador added that for Finland, Ethiopia is one of the priority countries.
“Ethiopia has been growing and there has been increasing interest from Finnish firms for the economic growth in Africa including Ethiopia,” she said.
In order to bring Finnish investors to Ethiopia, consultation has been made with investors and a Finnish business delegation will come to Ethiopia in a year to undertake feasibility study for investment.
According to the Ambassador, such initiatives would further promote the trade and investment ties between two countries.
Finland’s engagement in Ethiopia also proved successful in areas of poverty alleviation in rural parts of the country.
Expansion of water and education facilities as well as land administration and agricultural development activities have been among the fruitful areas of cooperation which need to be consolidated in the future, Maenpaa said.
She appreciated the successful efforts of Ethiopia in stabilizing the Horn of Africa region.
Commending the role of the ambassador in strengthening cooperation between the two countries, President Mulatu Teshome on his part called for more Finnish investment to the country in the fields of trade and investment.
The ambassador’s tenure in Ethiopia saw many ministerial visits to Ethiopia including the visit of Finnish Prime Minister to Ethiopia.
Dr. Mulatu and Ambassador Maenpaa discussed on ways to further diversify the long-standing bilateral relationship between Ethiopia and Finland.
The international non-governmental entity SOS Sahel is set to open its East African regional office in Addis Ababa, according to Executive Director of Programs of Sahel International France.
Foreign Affairs State Minister Ambassdor Taye Atskeselassie and Executive Director of Programs of Sahel International France Remi Hemryck signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set the regional office.
After the signing ceremony, the director told reporters that the opening of the office would enforce SOS's collaboration with East African countries to fight drought and ensure food security and nutrition in the region.
Hemryck indicated the office would also enhance the partnership between Ethiopia and SOS's network across the world.
Besides being the seat to the African Union (AU), Ethiopia’s success in bringing change in the agriculture sector makes the organization to choose the country as a home for its East African branch office.
Ambassador Taye appreciated the role SOS has played in Ethiopia to support government’s efforts to fight drought and improve the living conditions of rural communities.
SOS executed successful tasks in supporting farmers to add value in their agricultural products and enable them to bring the outputs to the market, the state minister said.
He called on the organization to extend its support in building the capacity of farmers and for efforts to change their livelihood.
Founded in 1976 in Senegal, SOS Sahel is a non-governmental organization aimed at supporting access to potable water programs in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Members of the Ethiopian Diaspora have discussed on the so far activities of the Amahra Development Association (ADA), as part of the second Diaspora day festival in the town of Bahirdar.
The Diaspora community received briefings about ADA activities presented by the Chairperson of the association’s board of directors Kassa Tekleberhan.
ADA is a non-political and religious entity aiming at alleviating the social and economic problems of the region, Kassa who is also Minister of Federal Affairs and Pastoral Area Development said.
According to the Chairperson, ADA needs the full involvement of its members to accomplish its mission.
"Our association has been prioritizing on human capital development. There are qualified physicians, engineers, teachers and other professionals all over the world who can produce tremendous effect in the development activities in the region. We have to utilize their potential properly," Kassa emphasized.
He urged members of the Diaspora to contribute for the development of their region.
Amhara Development Association Branch Regional Offices and the Diaspora Affairs Coordinator Degarege Seyoum on his part said ADA has undertaken numerous projects which have produced fruitful results in all sectors.
The association has accomplished successful projects on health, education, infrastructure and capacity building sectors, according to the coordinator.
ADA has collected more than 780 million birr from its members and other charity organizations in five years which exceeded the planned target.
Considering it as a politically affiliated entity and failures to settle membership fees on time are the challenges of the association which should be addressed, Degarege indicated.
Some participants of the forum pledged to contribute part based on requests by the association.
The event also entertained awards and recognition given to representatives of 157 investors who are engaged in various investment fields in the state.
Representatives of Ethiopian Embassies and consulate generals abroad were also recognized for their contribution in coordinating activities in their respective countries of assignment.