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UAE firms urged to invest in thriving Ethiopian sectors

(Staff Report) / 25 June 2011

DUBAI - Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), called upon Dubai-based companies to invest in Ethiopia, especially in the country’s fast-growing agricultural, infrastructure, trade and livestock sectors which offer ample investment opportunities in this new market.

Speaking at the Chamber’s 3rd country focus briefing, Ethiopia 2011, organised in association with the Ethiopian Consulate at the Chamber headquarters on Thursday, Al Ghurair said that the country ranked 71st on the list of Dubai’s trading partners and the two sides can now further enhance their trading ties by investing in new areas in each others’ countries.

The business networking event which came as part of the Chamber’s initiative of country focus briefing launched last year aims to enhance the competitiveness of Dubai businesses by introducing them to new investment markets.

The meeting was attended by Tadessa Haile, Ethiopian State Minister of Industry, Abi Wondemeskel, Director, Ethiopian Investment Agency, Eyessus W. Zafu, President of Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, Zemedeneh Negatu, Managing Partner, Ernst & Young Ethiopia, Anurag Sen, Head of African Markets, IFFCO Group, who gave introductory presentations on business opportunities.

A large delegation of businessmen, investors and representatives from private sectors in Dubai and Ethiopia also attended the meeting.

“Ethiopia’s economy is mainly based on agriculture. This sector accounts for about 45 per cent of GDP and 85 per cent of total employment. Ethiopia offers a highly accessible market for UAE businesses seeking expansion into Africa,” said Al Ghurair.

He added, “Currently, Dubai Chamber has 187 Ethiopian partnership companies among its members. They deal with building materials, spare parts, livestock, foodstuffs and engineering products. This number is something we would like to see increase.”

Al Ghurair informed that Dubai’s non-oil trade with Ethiopia reached Dh 967 million in 2010 with Dubai’s exports to the country registering Dh 672 million and imports clocking Dh296 million. He also stressed on the need for exploring continued joint cooperation efforts between the two sides as he said that Dubai offers a business-friendly environment as well as a stable base with easy access to Middle Eastern, European, Asian and African markets.

The Chairman of DCCI reaffirmed the Chamber’s commitment in providing all kinds of facilities to businesses from both the countries under the Chamber’s strategic objective of creating a favourable business environment, supporting the development of business and promoting Dubai as an international business hub.

In his presentation ‘Why Ethiopia Now?’, Zemedeneh Negatu, Managing Partner, Ernst & Young Ethiopia, informed that despite the challenges faced by emerging market economies, the Ethiopian economy demonstrated its ability to sustain double digit GDP growth over the last few years. He further stressed that if recent trends continue Ethiopia’s goal of joining the ranks of the middle income emerging market economies is achievable in less than two decades.

Negatu cited the World Bank’s global “Doing Business 2010” report which said that Ethiopia ranked as the fifth largest economy in sub-Sahara Africa in 2010 and outranked three of the four BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

He highlighted potentially significant investment opportunities in agro-industry, infrastructure, mining, oil and gas and tourism sectors and advised investors to consider Ethiopia as one of the more attractive emerging market investment destinations.


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