More than 80 Ethiopian businesses, 64 private companies and 11 public enterprises as well as government officials,
are heading to the United States to participate in a business forum organized by the American Corporate Council. The forum will be taking place from October 8th to the 11th.
Dina Mufti (Amb.), Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), said that participation in the forum is geared at promoting investment opportunities that exist in Ethiopia. He also mentioned that connecting the Ethiopian business community with their counterpart in the US as another objective. Ethiopian products will be exhibited at the forum to attract distributors and retailers for the US market.
This forum is not only expected to attract American investors to Ethiopia, but will also aid advanced technologies brought in by investors to enter the country. Dina said, as far as Ethiopia is concerned, the primary significance of the forum will be economic. It does however have political benefits as it will play a vital role in the country’s painstaking efforts of image building. “Policy makers will also get a chance to explain the investment policies of the country,” Dina told journalists at a press briefing held at the Ministry on Tuesday, October 2.
WAFA Marketing and Promotion Plc and MoFA have been tasked with preparing for the forum. According to the spokesperson, the business delegation will be led by a higher official in MoFA.
This is the third time Ethiopian businesses participated in such a forum, said Dina. “Ethiopian businesses took part in 2009 and 2011. This will be the third event,” he said. However, MoFA is participating for the first time, he stated.
Before they head to the US, a committee organized by the business community held in depth discussions among attendees on what products and services are to be exhibited at the forum and for how long, among other things.
It is expected that the forum will bring in more investment coupled with advanced technology, and more trade links.
The spokesperson also addressed current issues including the West Gate Mall terrorist attack, the common understanding reached by the Ethiopian and Egyptian governments on the Nile issue, the imminent opening of an embassy by Lithuania in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian government’s stance regarding the International Criminal Court (ICC) actions.
He said that two Ethiopians were stranded for days before finally being rescued during the West Gate Mall attack, which the government condemns. “The attack won’t make countries shy out about fighting terrorism,” he said. “It will in fact make them more determined in their efforts to eliminate it,” he continued.
Even though he appreciated the common understanding reached between the Ethiopian government and its Egyptian counterpart on the Nile issue, he indicated that more work needs to done regarding public diplomacy.