"Ladies and Gentlemen! We have two busy days ahead of us but for all the good reasons. All participants, especially those coming from foreign countries, will have an opportunity to get insight on how one of the most promising, emerging economies in the African continent - Ethiopia is laying the ground to "unleash its investment potential" in an area where it has visible comparative advantage - the Agro-Industry Sector."
"The creation of agro-industrial parks is a key instrument for transforming Africa’s agricultural sector and the overall economic transformation on the continent. This ambitious objective demands mobilization of significant resources, both domestic and external, public and private. The bank is happy to note that the Government of Ethiopia continuous to demonstrate strong ownership and commitment to investing its own public resources to the Integrated Agro-Industry Park initiative and calls on development partners and private sector to wholeheartedly support this noble approach.
The Bank, more than any other institution understands that finance matters. That it is the catalyst for growth. Therefore, the AfDB will support the establishment of private sector-led innovative financing and risk sharing instruments which hold great promise to mobilize and crowd-in private capital for investment in initiatives such as agro-industrial parks."
"In the coming years we will dedicate significant human and financial resources to strengthen key agro-industrial corridors, to improve the business climate for the development of the private sector, and for the progress of key industries such as agro-processing, leather and leather made products.
In particular, our contribution will involve the support to the Ethiopian strategy of rural industrialization, job creation and agricultural modernization though the development of agro-industrial parks. Italy strongly believes that this initiative will indeed contribute to the desired structural transformation of the economy."
“The initiative we see today on the agro-industrial parks is an ambitious step to the next level. And rightly so. They are the expression of a forward looking political vision to achieve sustainable investment and value addition for the benefit of a nation, its young people and vulnerable groups, I believe these parks are well-placed to achieve many objectives at once. They can contribute to economic growth of Ethiopia by enhancing value addition, increased exports, and import substitution. They can create jobs by increasing agricultural production in rural areas and introducing semi-urban poles. They can attract substantial foreign investment, including from EU companies, if conditions are right and, ultimately, the parks have the potential to reduce poverty and food insecurity further and improve the lives of many.”
"... in Ghana, in Cote d'Ivoire and many other African countries, they have not married the discussion of industrialization with the discussion of agriculture. These are not two separate discussions. This is the same discussion, because agro-processing and value addition is one of our entry points into real transformation of our economic structure. It is happening here in Ethiopia."
“With foreign direct investment flows to the country amounting to over USD 2 billion in 2015 alone, Ethiopia is becoming a hot spot for investors, especially in textiles and garments. […]The Programme for Country Partnership model shows that the development objectives of the Government and the business objectives of the private sector can be aligned in such a way as to accelerate development for countries while creating economic returns for companies.”
“With our Government’s unreserved commitment and strategic leadership, we are to build-on our global competitive advantages in agriculture-based light manufacturing to realize our vision of becoming Africa’s light manufacturing hub by 2025.”
Session 1: Investment climate and growth of the private sector in Ethiopia
The Government of Ethiopia launched the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II, 2015-2020), a national development strategy aimed at boosting economic growth with manufacturing at its core. In order to sustain Ethiopia’s high economic growth rate, recent government reforms and incentives have created investment and business opportunities in the industrial sector.
The session discussed the overall business environment and presented key policy features that make Ethiopia an attractive destination for investment in agro-industries and allied sectors.
Mr. Henok Assefa, Chief Executive Officer, Precise Consult International, Ethiopia
Mr. Fitsum Arega, Commissioner, Ethiopian Investment Commission
Ms. Cristina Miranda Gozálvez, Deputy Head of Unit, African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and Development Issues, European Commission, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development
Session 2: Integrated agro-industrial parks and rural industrialization
In an effort to offset regional infrastructure deficiencies and spur rural industrialization and agricultural commercialization, the Government is establishing four pilot integrated agro-industrial parks (IAIPs).
The session introduced the concept of IAIPs and provided an overview of the business plans and investment opportunities in such parks. The development of IAIPs is a priority of Ethiopia’s national development strategy and a core component of the GTP II. IAIPs are expected to boost private sector engagement, of both foreign and domestic companies, and address constraints related to land access, infrastructure, trade logistics, customs regulation and skills.
The discussion focused on how IAIPs can trigger rural industrialization and the commercialization of the agriculture and livestock sector through public and private investment.
Moderator - Professor Tekalign Mamo, Senior Director, Agricultural Commercialization Clusters Initiative, Agricultural Transformation Agency, Ethiopia
Mr. B. Suresh, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Mahindra Consulting Engineers Ltd., India
Session 3: The Ethiopian textile and garment sector
An abundance of raw materials, low wages and low energy costs give the Ethiopian textile and garment sector a comparative advantage over other countries and regions. This includes processes from the spinning, weaving and finishing of textile fabrics to the manufacturing of knitted and crocheted fabrics, carpets and sportswear.
The Government initiated several reforms aimed at improving the policy environment, from cotton production to garment exports. In this session, government officials and private sector representatives discussed opportunities and challenges within the sector.
Session 4: The Ethiopian leather and leather products sector
With an annual production of 5 million tons of hides, 8.1 million tons of sheepskin and 7.5 million tons of goatskin, Ethiopia has a comparative advantage in the leather industry. There are ample opportunities for investment in tanning, up to the finishing and manufacturing of luggage items, handbags, saddlery and harness, footwear, garments and other leather goods.
Over the past few years, the Government has improved the policy environment for the livestock value chain, from skins and hides to leather products for domestic and export markets. In this session, government officials and private sector representatives discussed the challenges and opportunities faced by the sector.
Session 5: Financing private investment in the manufacturing industry and allied activities
Access to finance for investment in the manufacturing industry has traditionally been a key constraint for the private sector in Ethiopia. A panel discussion featuring representatives of multilateral development banks, international financial institutions and national banks elaborated on the possibilities for financing private sector investment in Ethiopia.
Mr. Admasu Nebebe, Director, United Nations Agencies and Regional Economic Cooperation, Directorate and Head of the Climate Resilient Green Economy Facility, Ethiopia
H.E. Mr. Ahmed Shide, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Ethiopia
H.E. Mr. Ahmed Shide, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Ethiopia
Key takeaways and way ahead
“Just this afternoon, I met with some of our development partners, representatives of financial institutions and UN agencies. I have to tell you that I couldn’t be more encouraged and impressed by their willingness and commitment to work together with us and the Government of Ethiopia on advancing their industrial development agenda, including on projects such as integrated agro-industrial parks.
We fully understand that the private sector is a driver of economic growth and development. We heard from representatives of successful businesses operating in Ethiopia about the comparative advantages of this country, making it a prime location for investment and, in particular, the untapped opportunities in agro-processing which you may not have been aware of before.
We have also learned about the amazing results Ethiopia has achieved in attracting large investments in the textile and garment sector, and leather and leather products sector – both prime investment destinations. Some of you have invested already, those who have not, don’t miss your chance!”
“It is our firm belief that with the concerted effort of our government, partners, and the growing private sector, Ethiopian manufactured products will soon break into the global market with quality and diversity. We realize partnership is key for success in those endeavors, and we call up on each and every one of you to join hands with us for mutual benefit.
This Forum was an opportunity for our Government to underscore its commitment to work with the private sector. More importantly, I believe, that the past two days have provided a platform for both of us – the government and distinguished members of the private sector, and partners – to gain insights into what we can offer each other and how best we can harness our comparative advantages in the Ethiopian leather, textiles and agro-processing sectors.
I call upon members of the international business community and partners to seize this opportunity and be part of history in the making, not as witnesses, but as active engineers of Ethiopia's eminent emergence as a global player in business, trade and investment.”