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.

Ethiopian Investment Commission Wins UN Award for Promoting Investment

Ethiopia, Mauritius and Spain received the 2017 United Nations Awards for Promoting Investment in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at UNCTAD’s Investment, Enterprise and Development Commission in Geneva, Switzerland on 20 November 2017.

Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) is the winning agency on the Ethiopian side, according to UNCTAD press release.

EIC won the awarded for its instrumental role in facilitating the development of Hawassa Industrial Park as an eco-friendly textile and apparel facility with efficient use of water and energy, waste treatment, and renewable energy.

The commission has also attracted high-quality investments to the park, which employs more than 12,000 people, over 80 percent of which are young women who can use onsite social facilities, including health care and education services. 

UNCTAD Investment and Enterprise Director, James Zhan said during the awards ceremony “the award-winning agencies have demonstrated that leading inward and outward investment promotion agencies are acting proactively on the SDGs and achieving noteworthy results.”

COFIDES of Spain and Board of Investment of Mauritius were the other winners.

“Developing countries face an annual investment gap of 2.5 trillion USD in SDG-oriented investment, and foreign direct investment can play a critical role in filling this shortfall,” Zhan pointed out.

The award can help spur more efforts at the national and international levels to promote more quality investment in the SDGs, the Director added.

The awards for 2017, 2018 and 2019 have been dedicated to promoting investment that contributes towards the SDGs in order to mainstream the goals into investment policies and promotion, it was learned.

The investment promotion awards have been presented annually since 2002 as part of UNCTAD’s investment promotion and facilitation program to honor and disseminate best practices among investment promotion agencies and celebrate their achievements.

Ethio-Canada Relations Growing Steadily

Ethiopia needs to take advantage of the huge opportunities that Canada can offer in agro-processing, manufacturing, energy, mining and extraction industries, Foreign Affairs State Minister Hirut Zemen said.

A two-day Ethio-Canada Bilateral Consultation aimed at evaluating the implementation of existing bilateral agreements, identifying new areas of cooperation and coordinating positions on issues of common interest took place on October 2/2017.

In her opening remark, the State Minister noted that Ethiopia’s economy is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, and added that the country in this phase of economic growth needs more foreign investment and trade relations to sustain the growth.

As Ethiopia and Canada have common strategic interests which are steadily growing, it is now important to give more emphasis to areas of cooperation that could further enhance the mutual benefits of our peoples, she added.

According to her, economic ties and export and import trade between the two countries has been increasing in recent years.

The State Minister assured participants of the consultative meeting that “ the government of Ethiopia is fully committed to encourage and assist the Canadian business community that comes to Ethiopia in every way possible.”

Ethiopia is determined to make every effort to strengthen the special friendship and cooperation that has existed between Ethiopia and Canada over half a century, she added.

Canada's Director-General for Southern and Eastern Africa Bureau, Marc-Andre Fredtte said on his part the history of bilateral cooperation between the two countries is special.

He recalled that Canada had been engaged in promoting agriculture through the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) which is not considered a model around the world but brought a change and African countries are adopting various versions of it.

“There is now a maturity in our relationship which is different from those days, because those days accomplished things that were needed at the time, but I think Ethiopia has passed that,” Fredtte pointed out.

In the last 12 to 15 years Ethiopia was able to meet 7 of the 8 MDGs and "we could see the effect of your policies,” he stressed.

Speaking of Ethiopia’s role in maintaining regional security, the Director-General said “the image of Ethiopia in the complicated South Sudan is frankly one of the few sunshine, and we want to work with you.”

The long standing diplomatic relations of the two countries have provided a number of opportunities to nurture the relations and explore different ways to encourage bilateral cooperation in diverse areas, ranging from trade and investment to climate change and regional security, it was indicated.

PM Hailemariam Meets Leaders of Countries’, Organizations’

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn who is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly has discussed with leaders of various countries and international organizations on ways of strengthening bilateral relationships.

Accordingly, the Premier has met with President of Finland Sauli Vainamo Niinisto, Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, and Under-Secretary-General of OCHA and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock bilaterally.

During the discussion, President Niinisto of Finland commended Ethiopia’s contribution in stabilizing the Horn of Africa.

The President has also recognized the efforts of Ethiopia in realizing economic growth as fruitful.

Prime Minister Hailemariam for his part said that the support of Finland to Ethiopia's development particularly in the education sector is worth appreciating and fruitful.

As Ethiopia strives to eradicate poverty, it seeks the prevalence of peace in the region since peace is important for a country’s development, he said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hailemariam has discussed with Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Lokke Rasmussen on how to strengthen the exiting bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Ethiopia’s green economy strategy, illegal migration and other current issues are among the points of their discussion.

The Premier has also held discussion with Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for OCHA and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

Lauding the developmental activities being carried out in Ethiopia, the under-secretary-general affirmed the support towards minimizing the impacts of the drought will be continued, according to a high level official who attended the meeting.

Ethiopia, Sudan to Transform All-round Relations

The leaders of Ethiopia and Sudan have affirmed their commitment to work together to transform the existing all-round relations of the countries to a higher level.

An Ethiopian high-level delegation led by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn is on official three-day visit to Sudan where it held bilateral consultations with Sudanese high officials.

Among the Ethiopian officials, Minister of Government Communication Affairs Office Negeri Lencho has conferred with his Sudanese counterpart Dr.Ahmed Bilal on media cooperation between Sudan and Ethiopia.

State Minister of Foreign Affairs Hirut Zemene also held discussion with Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister Ibrahim Ghandou about ways of strengthening ties.

In a joint press conference the leaders of the two countries gave they affirmed their commitment to collaborate in transforming the relationship of the countries and ensuring the prevalence of peace and stability in the region.

Prime Minister Hailemariam said that the countries are working to benefit citizens and make trade and investment efficient through the economic integration they create.

He said the two countries have similar position on resolving both the problem of peace and stability in the region and the Gulf countries.

Hence we will exert joint effort to peacefully solve the instability in Somalia and South Sudan as well the Gulf countries, the Premier added.

According to Hailemariam, the security forces of the two countries are working together to maintain peace not only in the nations but also in the region.

President Omar al-Basher said on his part the visit of the Ethiopian high-level delegation would boost relations between the two countries and strengthen their economic integration.

The leaders have conferred on creating favorable condition that enables the countries to collaborate and work closely in trade, investment, national defense and security as well as information and cultural exchange, he revealed.

President al-Basher further stated that both countries will play a leading role in creating mutual understanding and common agreement about the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam among all countries.

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