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Grant Thornton Ethiopia, a joint venture of Grant Thornton International and AW Thomas Consultancy, opened its office in Addis Ababa on Tuesday November 19.  The company will mainly target the infrastructure sector, and include medium, small and micro enterprises.
Grant Thornton International is the sixth largest accounting network worldwide by combined fee income while its partner AW Thomas has been working in the country since 1981.
The American based Grant Thornton finalized a joint venture with AW Thomas Consulting, a local company, over a year ago.
After a year of groundwork, the firm opened its office, located in Kazanchis in front of the Grand Yordanos Hotel, on Guinea Conakry St.
Grant Thornton International, which has a global network of more than 35,000 employees and 2,600 partners in over 100 countries, provides auditing, tax and advisory services, among others.
Melaku Abeje, partner at Grant Thornton Ethiopia, told Capital that, with the exception of auditing, the newly opened office here in Addis will provide the same services Grant Thornton offers worldwide. Since some of the investors are expatriates, whose ability to conduct financial services is restricted, they are not allowed to offer auditing in Ethiopia. The other service lines will be offered in the same standard as any part of the world.
This international firm, whose focus areas include: construction, consumer products, financial services, government contracting, public sector, quasi-governmental organizations, health care, not-for-profit and technology, offers advisory services mergers and acquisitions advice, tax, and business valuations.
The opening of the new office makes Grant Thornton the third international company to offer the same services here in Ethiopia after Ernst and Young and Delloitte.
According to an expert who is a member of the Association of Certified and Chartered Accountants (ACCA), the opening of this office will enhance competition and boost the market for these services.
Efrem Taddesse, Partner Outsourcing at the company, said at the opening ceremony that Grant Thornton helps dynamic organizations understand complex issues for privately owned, publicly listed and public sector clients and helps them to find solutions.
Nigel Ruddock, Global Leader-Advisory services said that immediately after the opening of the office held on Tuesday, an internal public relations (PR) campaign will be made for our people and firms under Grant Thornton and their clients globally.  This will enable them to convince potential investors to come to Ethiopia, according to Ruddock.
“It is so important we don’t just import the skills set from the UK to do work. It is critical to us that we train our local team so they can do the work themselves with a bit of guidance and skill because you need a balanced team,” David Fisher, managing director for the Middle East, said. 
Ruddock said that the main focus of the company would initially be infrastructure but that it will be looking into other sectors as the economy of the country develops. “I think there’s a lot of opportunity around financial services, the banking system,” he said. Financial services is about 12 percent of Grant Thornton’s global business, according to Ruddock.
Fisher said that Ethiopia, which is the fourth country in East Africa Grant Thornton operates after Kenya, Sudan and Uganda, is important not only for its own economy but also for the impact it can have on the region around it.” It is a central location, a good economy, and the right attitude. We see a big part in the regional development-the development of Africa,” he said.
The company will also consider the medium, small and micro enterprises sector according to Ruddock. “Each of our firms in every country is very much locked into the local economy,” he said. “We will not go into a country just to audit the US multinationals that are based here. That is not what we do. We want to be in the economy of the country”.