Ethiopia offers vast and diverse untapped business opportunities
India is looking to work more closely with the context of the recently ratified African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Vineet Agarwal, President of The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) said on 17 Feb 2021
“The FTA should enhance trade with Ethiopia and other African Countries,” he told the India-Ethiopia Business Forum organised in honour of the visiting Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen.
“We request the respective authorities and key stakeholders on both sides to expedite resolution of non-tariff barriers to provide a greater ease of doing business for industry members. This will help boost the trade potential between India and Ethiopia in the short term, even as newer areas for a more broad-based commercial engagement emerge in the post-COVID world order,” said Agarwal.
Sharing his perspective, ASSOCHAM’s secretary general Deepak Sood said, “Ethiopia offers vast and diverse untapped scope for a range of business opportunities. This untapped potential is a call to India to forge stronger trade ties with Ethiopia, and within the region.”
Speaking at the event, Mekonnen invited Indian businesses to be part of a 10-year economic development plan unveiled by his government with a vision ‘Ethiopia: An African Beacon of Prosperity.’
“We have also defined new frontiers of growth including digital economy, tourism, science and technology, human resource development and increase in productivity in agriculture and industry,” said Mekonnen who is also Foreign Affairs Minister.
He also assured facilitation from his government for prospective Indian investments.
The Minister also sought increase in Ethiopian exports to India, reminding his hosts that it has remained low. Comparatively, there has been exponential growth in Indian exports to his country, Mekonnen pointed out, adding that bilateral trade ties between India and Ethiopia have reached US$1.23 billion
Even as trade and economic relations between India and Ethiopia are booming, there is still huge scope to expand and diversify trade between the two countries, added V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, at the ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi.
“I invite Indian entrepreneurs to consider establishing high-quality educational institutions, of both technical and non-technical nature, in Ethiopia,” said Muraleedharan.
Today, there are over 607 Indian companies in Ethiopia with a licensed investment of over US$5 billion. About 61% of Indian investments are in manufacturing sector followed by 14% agriculture sector.
He also said that Ethiopia is one of the largest recipients of India’s concessional loans or lines of credit in Africa. “I am glad that our development partnership covers sectors such as rural electrification and the sugar industry and consists of a total of six lines of credit amounting to US$705 million extended to Ethiopia.” said the Minister.
The Minister added that state visit of Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister will deepen ties thereby leading to a robust and long-lasting relationship and India would continue to partner in country’s growth story.
He said that economy of Ethiopia, the second-most populous African country which has been posting a double-digit growth rate for over 15 years together with its highly-educated, skilled populace and sound economic policies makes it an attractive investment destination for Indian entrepreneurs.
Highlighting the expansion in economic collaboration between India and Ethiopia, the Minister highlighted that despite COVID-19 global pandemic, Indian businessmen continued to explore investment opportunities in the African country. “During the last one year, we have had 35 new Indian investments in Ethiopia.”
The Minister also expressed appreciation for Ethiopian government’s effort in creating a congenial environment for foreign investments and in particular for facilitating Indian companies to invest in Ethiopia and carry on their business. #investment #exports #manufacturing #agriculture /fiinews.com