Wed 31-03-2021 17:19 PM
ABU DHABI, 31st March, 2021 (WAM) -- The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has organised, in cooperation with the Embassy of Ethiopia, a virtual webinar on the available investment opportunities in Ethiopia.
Mohamed Helal Al Mheiri, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Chamber, and Suleiman Dedefo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to the UAE, attended the meeting.
Lelise Neme Sori, Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission, and Assefa Mulgeta, Director-General of Export Marketing and Promotion Department at the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Ethiopia and Deputy Commissioner-General for Expo 2020, Dubai, attended the webinar as well.
During the meeting, the speakers previewed some information related to the potential investment opportunities in several priority sectors including the textile, leather and leather products, pharmaceuticals, agro-processing, mining, ICT and tourism, in addition to various new sectors such as transportation, railways, healthcare, consultation services and e-commerce.
In his welcome remarks, Al Mheiri expressed the hope that the webinar would open new doors for investment, trade and cooperation and strengthen the partnerships in diverse sectors of mutual interest.
"The non-oil trade volume between the UAE and Ethiopia exceeded AED2.252 billion in 2019 and the Ethiopian market is one of the fastest-growing markets in Africa with a population of 110 million. This is a real and promising opportunity for mutual economic cooperation backed by a shared desire to extend bridges of cooperation in all development and economic sectors," he said.
Ambassador Dedefo emphasised that Ethiopia and the UAE have long-standing relations, saying that the diplomatic relations of the two countries can be traced back to 1973 and ever since, the political, economic and people-to-people ties have become stronger.
"Ethiopia and the UAE enjoy excellent multifaceted relations and notably, my government continues to recognise the UAE as a key partner," he said.
The ambassador pointed out that Ethiopia possesses vast arrays of resources that can offer a huge potential for investment in the area of agriculture, agro-processing, mining, manufacturing and other sectors.
"Ethiopia has been a target country for investment for many years and within the past eight years we have witnessed an increased appetite from the UAE to invest in Ethiopia as well, mainly in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and service sectors among others," he explained.
"From 2002 up to 2020, 121 UAE companies have been engaged in Ethiopia in various investment activities with capital worth more than Br2 billion (approximately AED177,221,000) and created permanent and temporary job opportunities for more than 10,000 Ethiopians," he remarked. "Similarly, lots of Ethiopians have also engaged in various business activities in different states of the UAE. In this regard, it is my firm belief that UAE will remain one of our top investment sources in the future as well."
During the webinar, Sori delivered a presentation in which she emphasised that Ethiopia is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies with double-digit growth and the investment-to-GDP ratio has averaged 37.5 percent over the last five years. She added that there was a four-fold increase in FDI flow between 2013 and 2018, from US$1 billion to more than $4.2 billion, which attracted several global brands highlighting competitive investment opportunities.
Sori remarked that Ethiopia now has the largest cargo network and terminal in Africa, all-weather roads nationwide, and is extending a railway that cuts the journey from Djibouti to Modjo from 84 hours to under 10 hours.
During his presentation, Mulgeta explained that the industrial sector contributed up to 24.77 percent to the GDP in 2019, whereas the service and agricultural sectors contributed 36.87 percent and 33.88 percent, respectively, to the Ethiopian GDP in 2019.
He noted that coffee is the most important Ethiopian export followed by flowers and oilseed. Chat, Pulse and gold come next followed by textile, fruit and vegetables, meat and meat products and electricity.
Meanwhile, minerals are the largest commodity Ethiopia imports followed by machinery and equipment, electrical machinery, iron and steel, fertilisers, vehicles and parts, cereals, pharmaceuticals and plastic products.
Mulgeta added that the trade volume between Ethiopia and the UAE exceeded $2.5 million between 2010 and 2019, during which, Ethiopia imported more than $360 million worth of products from the UAE whereas the volume of its exports to the UAE exceeded $94 million.