Even amidst the pandemic, 30 Indian firms are planning projects in Ethiopia
“Ethiopia has registered sustained double digit GDP growth in the last 14 years and India has been a key partner in this growth trajectory. Government of Ethiopia has a clear vision to promote the country as New Horizon of Hope in Africa. We have operationalised 12 state of the art industrial parks across key development corridors with a mission to transform the country into a leading manufacturing hub in Africa. Ethiopia is the second most populous country of Africa and it is an incredible hub for foreign investors because of abundant natural resources, diverse agro-climatic zones, cheapest electricity, trained and affordable workforce,” said H.E. Dr Tizita Mulugeta, Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia at an interactive webinar on “Trade and Investment opportunities in Ethiopia- post Covid 19”. The webinar was organized by All India Association of Industries (AIAI).
She said, “The government has taken bold measures on liberalization and removing structural and regulatory constraints for investors. The country’s proximity to the middle east, Asia and duty free access to EU and US markets are its attractive features.”
Ms. Mulugeta further said, “FDI in Ethiopia has been growing in recent years and India is the third largest source of foreign investment into the country with cumulative investment of USD 5 billion. There are 617 Indian projects approved by the Ethiopian Investment Commission and even amidst the pandemic 30 Indian companies have travelled to Ethiopia to launch new projects. Indian companies have invested in agriculture, pharmaceutical, healthcare, engineering, plastics, textile, ICT, education and other sectors in our country. India is also the third largest source of import and it accounts for 8% of the inbound shipments into the country.”
Speaking about the historical relation, Ms. Mulugeta said, “India and Africa have been historically connected through culture, economics and politics. In the historical context, India’s engagement was focused on northern and eastern coasts in the African continent. Soon after its independence, India established diplomatic relations with Ethiopia in 1948, which gradually gave rise to economic and business relations.”
Sharing more information about the attractiveness of Ethiopia, Ms. Mulugeta said, “Ethiopia is the member of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which ensures free movement of goods across 1.2 billion consumer market of Africa. The country offers mining opportunity in gold, potash, platinum, opal, iron, tantalum, marble, granite and limestone. Also, the government has identified focus sectors such as textile & apparel, leather & allied products, pharmaceuticals, agro-processing, energy, ICT, tourism for attracting FDI.”
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Mr. Vijay Kalantri, President, All India Association of Industries pointed out, “India-Ethiopia relations dates back to 2000 years and we both have shared values and traditions. There are more than 600 Indian companies that created at least 75000 jobs in Ethiopia. However, there is still untapped trade and investment potential. Bilateral trade today stands at hardly USD 900 million and we should aim to double this to at least USD 2 billion in three years. We need to promote greater partnership among MSMEs from both the sides. Ethiopia has a fertile land and there is lot of scope for agriculture. One area of focus can be cotton exports from India, where there is untapped potential.”
Mr. Kalantri added, “AIAI will collaborate with the Ethiopian embassy to explore new vistas of bilateral cooperation. In the past, AIAI has hosted interactive meetings with former ambassadors, senior ministers and consul generals of Ethiopia. We shall work with the consul general of Ethiopia in Mumbai to take the relationship forward.”
Mr. Kalantri invited the Ambassador to visit AIAI for an interactive meeting to promote bilateral trade once the pandemic situation normalizes.
During the event, Mr. Demesew Kebede, Minister (Business), Embassy of Ethiopia in India made a presentation on trade & investment opportunities and government policies of Ethiopia to attract foreign direct investment.
The session was attended by members of trade & industry, consular corps, women entrepreneurs, academia and financial institutions.
Ms. Sangeeta Jain, Senior Director, All India Association of Industries proposed vote of thanks for the event.