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.

A Chinese textile company, Zhejiang Jinda Flax Llc, in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, is going to set up a textile industrial zone in the Bole district of Addis Ababa. A Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Industry and the Chinese firm was signed in mid-May 2014, and a formal investment agreement is likely to be signed by July. According to the MoU, the Ministry and Zhejiang Jinda Flax will jointly set up a new company by the name of Kingdom Linen Textile Industrial Zone, which will oversee the construction and development of the textile industrial zone project. Zhejing Jinda, a subsidiary of Chinese Kingdom Holdings Limited, produces textile decoration fabrics which have a wide use in sofa covers, curtains and similar products. The Ministry of Industry says it has allocated a total of over 5,000 sq. kms for industrial zones in different cities and towns across the country, including Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Kombolcha, Shillabo, and Hawassa.

Ethiopia’s average life expectancy has improved dramatically, according to the World
Health Organization. WHO, the United Nations global health organization, in its
report on the state of health around the world for 2014 said that Ethiopia had
achieved the second biggest gain with a rise in the average life span from a
low of 45years in 1990 to 64 years in 2012. Liberia came in first with an
increase from 42 years to 62 years within the same period. Ethiopia has been at
the forefront of significant health improvement over the past decade, making it
one of the few low-income countries on track to meet the Millennium Development
Goals (MDG). Recently, the UN singled out Ethiopia as a leading performer in
meeting the MDG on reducing child mortality rates. Ethiopia has also
substantially reduced HIV and malaria prevalence. The new WHO report said these
and other improvements had contributed to this impressive rise in average life
expectancy in Ethiopia and other low-income countries. The 67th session of the
World Health Assembly, the global body which sets health policy for the WHO and
which opened on Monday (May 19)in Geneva, is expected to adopted new global
measures to consolidate the successes achieved so far and tackle continuing
emerging health problems.

In line with the country's Growth and Transformation Plan, the Ethiopian
Government signed a Governance Framework for a Multi-Donor Initiative for
private sector development, on Thursday (May 15). The document was signed
between the Ethiopian Government and donor partners including the UK Department
for International Development, and the Italian, Swedish and Canadian
Development Agencies. This move serves
to formalize the collaboration among the International Finance Corporation
(IFC), the Ethiopian government and donor partners that has been working for
nearly two years. The IFC, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Government and
donor partners, is acting as a secretariat, implementing entity, and
administrator of donor funds. The IFC's strategy for Ethiopia includes
bolstering direct investment in priority sectors, including small and micro enterprise
development and supporting the Government in improving the investment climate.
The Resident Representative of the IFC, Mr. Amadou Labara, said the “overall
aim of the Multi-Donor Initiative is to support Ethiopia's Growth and
Transformation Plan objectives, including promoting and investing in scalable
private sector interventions, aiming to support development and increase access
to finance."


Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom today (Monday, May 19) had discussions with visiting Lithuania Foreign Minister, Linas Linkevicius. The Lithuanian minister said bilateral relations between Lithuania and Ethiopia left a lot to be desired and trade links and business engagement in particular were insignificant. Minister Linkevicius noted that the recent favorable credit ratings issued to Ethiopia by international ratings firms signified the strength of Ethiopia’s robust economic activity and showed that the dynamism of recent economic growth was set to continue in the near future. The Lithuanian Minister suggested the two governments could look into building robust cooperation in areas ranging from leather manufacturing to tourism. He pointed out hat although there were a number of students from African countries attending studies in Lithuania, almost none of them were from Ethiopia. Dr Tedros, who noted the Ethiopian government placed a lot of importance on education, welcomed Minister Linkevicius’ suggestions to explore possible cooperation in education and in technology. Dr. Tedros said an improving economic relationship between Ethiopia and Lithuania should be one of the priority areas of their relationship. He affirmed the Ethiopian government’s commitment to encourage more cooperation and dialogue between their respective businesses and chambers of commerce. Minister Linkevicius thanked the Ethiopian government for its support in his country’s bid for a seat at the United Nations Security Council and expressed his government’s desire to work closely with Ethiopia and the African Union on security issues concerning the continent. The two ministers agreed to hold regular political dialogue and expedite efforts to build closer economic cooperation.

State Minister Ambassador Berhane Gebre-Chirstos held discussions with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President, Dr Kenayo F. Nwanze, on Friday (May 16). Ambassador Berhane noted that Ethiopia has an excellent relationship with IFAD and they had carried out successful joint activities. Ethiopia, he said, valued IFAD’s contribution and support. Ambassador Berhane said Ethiopia’s robust growth over the past couple of years has been driven by the agriculture sector and the focus of the Growth and Transformation Plan was on tackling poverty, on rural development and improvement of productivity in rural and pastoralist areas. Ambassador Berhane noted that Ethiopia had benefited immensely from the “expertise and institutional capacity” of IFAD. Dr Nwanze congratulated Ethiopia on the transformation that the country has undergone in the last decade. He said that Ethiopia was IFAD’s largest partner in Africa, and that the organization had been carrying out several works focused on agriculture and rural development aligned with the government's strategy. He highlighted IFAD’s aims of improving rural access to natural resources such as land and water, improving agriculture and livestock production technologies and support services, and developing reliable financial services. He said that the model of development that Ethiopia was following should be looked at by other states. He also underlined IFAD’s firm commitment to support Ethiopia in its efforts to industrialize the agricultural sector. Dr Nwanze said “IFAD is happy to be part of the country’s development plan”. IFAD’s strategy in Ethiopia focuses on supporting investment programs with the greatest potential impact on sustainable household food security, and on incomes of poor people. It signed a host country agreement with the Government of Ethiopia in July 2010, and appointed a Country Director and a Representative with a fully-fledged country office in Addis Ababa, enabling IFAD to strengthen engagement with the government’s programs, projects and development partners.

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