The Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (AACCSA) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands signed a 3 million Euro
agreement to establish an Agribusiness Support Facility (ABSF) within AACCSA on December 11, 2012.
The Agribusiness Support Facility is stated to have five major components including an Information and Services Hub, Technical and Entrepreneurial Capacity Support, Sub-sector platforms and partnerships, business to business linkages and Networking and Private Sector Association support.
“The agriculture sector has a tremendous opportunity. Agriculture is not just a science, it is also a business,” stated Hans Blankenberg, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ethiopia.
According to the agreement, attracting foreign direct investment in Ethiopia’s agribusiness sector, increasing the number of new domestic companies in the sector and enhancing trade between Ethiopia and high-value markets are the objectives of the ABSF.
“If we used one tenth of our land, we would be able to feed the entire population of Ethiopia and then some of our neighbors too. That is why we need more investments in that sector and this support facility, we believe, will do just that,” said Ayalew Zegeye, President of AACCSA.
At the signing ceremony, held at the Radisson Blu Hotel on December 11, 2012, it was stated that the establishment of the ABSF would speed up and support Ethiopia’s transition from agriculture towards agribusiness in line with the Government’s 5 year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) which underlines the shift from subsistence farming to the production of high value crops, commercialization of agriculture and massive support towards agro-processing as a major source of economic growth and food security.
“ABSF will promote Ethiopian Agribusiness opportunities for entrepreneurs from the Netherlands and the European Union because ABSF’s services are available both for Ethiopian and foreign agri-business entrepreneurs,” stated the Ambassador.
The facility will be open on the 1st of January, 2013 and its short term goals are to organize trade missions from both Ethiopia and the Netherlands, organize business competitions to get innovative ideas from young graduates and putting up a website on how to invest in Ethiopia.
“Ethiopia is a really good place to invest but it is not without its challenges, especially for foreign investors; finding your way as a foreign company can be tricky. This facility will help companies go through the bureaucracy and regulations,” said Joep Van Den Broek, Agriculture Advisor/ Consultant.
The ABSF will be supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands for a period of three years and will have an in-built component to strengthen AACCSA’s capability to undertake the activities of ABSF in a sustained manner for the years beyond.