Britain looks to build Ethiopian Government capacity


The UK Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds MP, met the Ethiopian Foreign Minister Teodros Adhanom (PhD), last Monday in a bid to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries and discuss horn politics.    
“We have had a very constructive meeting. We discussed ways to deepen trade ties and investment between the United Kingdom and Ethiopia. We have also discussed on how to work together to build the capacity of the Ethiopian government. The issue of regional security and the upcoming Somalia conference in London was also part of our discussion.  Obviously, the Ethiopian government will play an important role in the second Somalia conference, as it did in the first one that was held a year ago,” said Simmonds, right after concluding the discussion with the Ethiopian Foreign Minister.
“We have very good relations with Ethiopia. We intend to continue in that vein. Part of the discussion I had with the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) was, not only on how to further deepen economic and trade ties, but also the political ties between the two governments.”  The discussion was extremely warm, constructive and successful, added the UK Minister.
According to Ambassador Dina Mufti, the spokesperson for MoFA, the Ethiopian government seeks British involvement in the areas of textile, leather and the engineering sector of the economy.  
A high level delegation that included eight cabinet ministers had marketed Ethiopia’s investment potential and incentives to a forum of United Kingdom investors, in June 2011, in London.
Spearheaded by the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hailemariam Desalegn, a delegation which included key public enterprise heads and consultants labored in an effort to attract investors from the UK and potential Ethiopian investors residing there.
Ethiopian investment incentives for priority sectors include duty-free schemes, tax holidays, bank loans and export incentives. Apart from the listed incentive mechanisms, Ethiopia also sealed a landmark deal with the UK government for investors to avoid double taxation, which was signed at the first UK-Ethiopia investment forum put together by Developing Markets Associates (DMA), Africa Matters Ltd (AML) and the Ethiopian Embassy in London in collaboration with other local and international groups, in June 2012 at London’s Savoy Palace Hotel. That gathering attracted more than 300 potential investors.
The Ethiopian parliament approved the deal the same year.
“We have discussed in general, in what areas  the British government could provide expertise to build the capacities of government departments here in Ethiopia. We have agreed to follow up on that in particular. We have also decided to look into the specific priority areas of the Ethiopian government. Together, we will build on this constructive discussion and the details of the capacity building program will be identified. The Ethiopian government can and will set up its priority areas and the British government will respond to those priorities and assist the Ethiopian government to build its own capacity in respective areas it thinks is important,” said Simmonds, concluding his short remark to journalists.