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The government of Poland expressed its keenness on strengthening its business ties with Ethiopia in particular and with Africa in general. A business delegation of several companies led by a high profile government official arrived Saturday Sept. 21 here in Addis for the Polish-Ethiopian Business Forum.
The Embassy of Poland in Ethiopia, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA), is to organize the first Polish-Ethiopian Business Forum here in Addis at the Sheraton Hotel.
Several private and state owned companies and enterprises from Ethiopia are due to partake in this forum with the ECCSA playing a vital role.
Some 20 companies already arrived from Poland on Saturday.
The forum, which is going to be held on Monday September 23 at the Sheraton Addis, is aimed at scaling up the economic cooperation between Ethiopia and Poland, according to the ambassador.
The Polish Ambassador to Ethiopia, Jack Jankowski, stated that currently ties are not at the level that both countries desire. “Trade for the year 2010 was, for instance, approximately USD 10 million,” he said. The trade between the two countries in 2012 was only USD 13 million. For the ambassador this simply is just not acceptable when looking at the potential and population size of Ethiopia and Poland [84 million and 40 million, respectively.]
The Ambassador said that the forum is to be held in Addis Abeba, which is the political and economic centre, and can lead to a breakthrough into the African market. “I would like Polish investors to see Ethiopia as a window to enter the African market – to start with Ethiopia and expand activities to the whole continent,” he said.
During a press conference held on Tuesday, the Ambassador stated that representatives from 20 companies will arrive on Saturday for a three-day visit and the first Polish-Ethiopian Business Forum will be held on Monday.
The business delegation led by Beata Stelmach, the Polish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, will visit different institutions, including ministries and state-owned enterprises and hold talks with the private sector to acquire an understanding of how to do business in the country and to study the opportunities, according to Ambassador Jack Jankowski.
The visits and the forum will be followed by investments and business deals. Jankowski said that a couple of agreements are set to be signed between Ethiopian and Polish companies in the very near future.
“Everything is possible if there’s a will and prospect,” said the ambassador speaking of the possibility of the companies investing in the country. “And the Ethiopian market isn’t a bad one but among the undiscovered.”
“It is a big market with 90 million people. The country is developing so fast with very well educated young people who should find job opportunities here in the country instead of fleeing abroad in search of jobs,” he said. He is hopeful that the purchasing power of the country will increase as the growth of the country, which he described as a window for the Polish companies into the African market, continues.
“If there’s economic growth, there’s potential for cooperation. The country has observed this growth for the last few years,” he said.