Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 5, 2009 (Ezega.com) -- Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and SectoralAssociation (AACCSA) organized the 13th Addis Chamber international trade fair from February 26 to March 3, 2009, at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Centre. At the closing of the international trade fair, AACCSA invited all participants of the trade fair to Addis Ababa Hilton Hotel and awarded certificates of appreciation to the participants. “Best Stand” award was given to 20 participants, of which 11 were local businesses. AACSA also recognized and awarded various institutions, giving titles such as “Extraordinary Support”, “Special Support”, and “Sponsors” of the trade fair.
Ato Gashaw Abate, the AACCSA Trade Fair Department Manger, told Ezega.com, “this was the most organized international trade fair we ever held. The participants thanked us for the opportunity it provided them, although we also heard complaints from some who could not participate at the trade fair due to limited space.” The manager was optimistic that the problem with space will be solved once AACCS uses the 110,126 m2 land it leased from Addis Ababa City Administration for 1,563,247 birr.
Ezega.com asked the manager to explain how this trade fair differed from the previous ones. Ato Gashaw Abate said “The products displayed in this year’s trade fair were not focused only on consumer items, but included development equipment and manufacturing inputs as well. In particular, big investors from Russian showed interest on mining, water development, and electric generation. Compared to last year, the number of participants at the pavilion appears to be less, but in terms of the number of attendants and the income it generated, it was bigger. In addition, exhibitor facilitators were really well organized and served their customers very well.”
Ato Gashaw further added, “the 12th international trade fair was very fruitful, as some of the companies signed memorandum of understanding (MOU). AACCSA should not only help attract foreign investors to Ethiopia, but also enable our investors to utilize the medium to explore other promising opportunities globally.”
We also asked Ato Gashaw if the global economic crisis affected this year’s international trade fair significantly. “I can’t say that there was a significant fall in the number of participants. Even in this time of economic crisis, many delegates came from different countries. Taking a tally of the international participants, there were four from china, twenty seven from Russia, seventeen from Iran, twenty from Egypt, seventeen from India, and thirteen from Sudan. A Russian train company approached us to work with our Ethiopian Railway Development Agency. With all this success, I can’t say that there was a significant impact of the global financial crisis on this year’s trade fair.”
On a related issue, on March 4, business delegates from the Islamic Republic of Iran met their Ethiopian counterparts at the headquarters of the AACCSA. The Iran Ambassador to Ethiopia and 35 business delegates who come from 15 well-known Iranian companies, covering different sectors (including vehicle and tractor manufacturing, gas production, and carpet and curtain exporters) conducted fruitful discussions with Ethiopian chamber of commerce members. The Ethiopian counterparts included representative from the Ethiopian investment Agency, as well as local importers and exporters. The AACCSA facilitated this meeting of foreign investors and Ethiopians engaged in import and export and those who wanted to explore business opportunities in Iran.
Ato Teshome Beyene, the Secretary General of AACCSA, said during the meeting “goods and commodities imported from Iran reached 450 million birr annually, while our export to Iran is only 2.5 million birr. Our import to export ratio is clearly disproportional. We encourage our Iranian investors to import products from Ethiopia, particularly agricultural products, textiles, and leather products.”
The Iranian investors brought the scarcity of foreign currency in Ethiopia and the problem with opening letter of credit (LC) in a timely manner as major obstacles in the way of improving the trade imbalance. Ato Teshome responded to the Iranian delegates “I am optimistic that such problems will be solved soon. We are facing such problems that we haven’t seen in the past 17 years. I believe these are temporary and they will be solved soon.”
“Ethiopia is a member of Multi Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a world bank affiliate, which issues guarantee against non-commercial risks. In addition to this, Ethiopia also has bilateral investment promotion and protection agreements with many African, Asian, and European countries, including Iran.” The chamber assured the delegates that they are protected and that they should feel comfortable in investing in Ethiopia.
The AACCSA believes that such forums and opportunities will open the door for local investors to reach international markets.
This article was written by Eden Habtamu reporting for Ezega.com from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She can be reached by email at News@Ezega.com. The article can be reprinted in full or in part elsewhere but only by giving full credit to Ezega.com. If reprinted on a website, we ask that you place this active link: Ezega Ethiopian News, pointing to http://www.Ezega.com.