Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Conference hopes to attract more German investors

Marketing German Products to Ethiopians, networking between Ethiopian and German businesses, and more effectively utilizing German made products known for their innovation to the Ethiopian Market are the major items on the agenda for the upcoming Ethiopian-German business conference on July 6 in Cologne, Germany.
This is the first time the event will take place in Germany, a similar program for Diaspora is planned for Cairo, Egypt.
One puzzling issue of German Ethiopian trade is that despite a January 2011 study by the German Society for International Cooperation which found excellent investment opportunities in geothermal, solar and wind energy, and Germany’s reputation in the field there was only one German company represented at the 16th international Addis Chamber Trade Fair
Estifanos Samuel Chairman of the board of the Ethio-German Forum who’s organizing the German Ethiopian Economic Conference called that disappointing.
It appears ironic especially considering that despite the absence of German companies from the Ethiopian business scene many foreign firms investing in Ethiopia use German products for their projects. 
One possible solution would be to attract Germans of Ethiopian Origin to invest in the country.
Markos Lemma a representative from GIZ said price undercutting from other countries is negatively impacting the business potential of German products in Ethiopia.
Another participant said there was a lack of follow up with German delegations. He said while some other countries’ companies make contact after being part of a trade delegation German firms seemed not to.
Another thing that is needed to improve ties is better analysis. For example many argue that agriculture should be given priority while others wish to focus on renewable energy.  Both areas will receive attention at the GEECON in Cologne this July.  Items like using German technology to help Ethiopia export power to its neighbors and agricultural investment will be addressed.
The conference is expected to be attended by Gunter Nokkie German Chancellor’s G8 representative for Africa as well as State Minister of Industry, Tadesse Haile.
From the Ethiopian private sector Gashaw Debebe General Secretary of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association will also be present and plans to visit one of the world’s largest solar companies in Bonn.
The conference’s stated aims are to create a positive attitude about Ethiopia in order to facilitate business opportunity for Ethiopia and to improve the relationship between Ethiopia and Germany. It also is a networking opportunity for German companies and German Production Systems.