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The second edition of the Ethiopia CEOs Breakfast Forum, held on Tuesday Sept. 17 at the Sheraton Addis, discussed access to finance.
At the forum, which was organized by Precise Consult in collaboration with the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), more than 70 CEOs and leaders of international agencies, government institutions and private businesses participated.
Issues including public private partnership opportunities to finance investment, economic developments and business trends in Ethiopia, domestic savings mobilization, and the supply chain business and financing opportunities for the emerging power sector of the country in particular and the continent in general were discussed by different panelists.
Yohannes Tilahun, from the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), who discussed public private partnership opportunities to finance investment at the forum, stated that the interest of foreign direct investors in Africa, in general, and in Ethiopia, in particular, is growing. He said that for investors, all eyes are on Africa and that the continent would benefit more if the ease of doing business were improved.
With the Indian and Brazilian markets becoming more expensive, Ethiopia’s fast track growth, and cheap human resources, among other aspects of the economy, makes Ethiopia attractive to investors, according to Yohannes, who worked for Wall Street for more than 15 years.
“Once we improve the ease of doing business, I think in another three to four years, we are going to see a huge turnaround in the number of investors and diaspora that are coming,” he said. Furthermore, it will also increase the number of local businesses that will do very well, according to him.
Munir Duri, General Manager of Kifiya Financial Services, also discussed the significance of the mobilization of domestic savings, which is the most reliable form of financing for the sustainable growth of any economy. The country has done very well in this regard but still needs to go a long way via the use of technology and branchless banking.
Meanwhile, the forum also discussed the power sector, in which billions of dollars have and will be invested. Dawit Belay, from Advantage Industrials, highlighted possible investment opportunities for the private sector in current and future projects in the country.
The forum also discussed equity finance, bank finance and the opportunities of tapping into development finance institutions such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Export and Import (Exim) banking systems.
Henok Assefa, Managing Partner of Precise Consult International PLC, said the forum will be held every three months, though with different themes. The Ethiopian CEOs Breakfast Forum is aimed at creating a platform where leaders that have a significant stake in the economic development of the country come together regularly and discuss economic and policy issues, according to him. “We aim to attract CEOs of big companies-of government as well as international agencies that support Ethiopia’s development,” he said.
The first Ethiopian CEOs forum was held late last year with a focus mainly on the manufacturing sector, which has been identified by the government as a way to prosper.