The Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA) held a Business to Business (B2B) meeting at its Mexico office for Ethiopian Entrepreneurs and an Italian business delegation from the province of Cosenza on January 15, 2014. The Italian Delegation led by Vice President Luciano Manfrianto of the province council of Cosenza consisted of representatives from more than twenty companies in the infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, and agriculture related sectors.
Gashaw Debebe, General Secretary of ECCSA said that trade relations have been strengthening between the two countries in his opening speech.
“The total trade exchange between the two countries reached close to USD 391 million in 2011 from USD 171 million in 2004,” said Gashaw. “Ethiopia exported to Italy goods amounting to nearly USD 109 million in 2011. Italy’s export to Ethiopia during the same period amounted to USD 282 million,”
This isn’t the first B2B meeting arranged by the Association. Business delegates from Turkey, China, Oman and Dubai have come to Ethiopia on similar ventures. Members of the association have also gone to other countries to pitch their ideas. Some of those countries are South Korea, Singapore and Egypt.
An entrepreneur at the meeting said that she takes full advantage of the opportunities provided by the Association. She was at the meeting representing not only herself but seven other companies.
“There was a delegation from France a few months back,” she says. “The meeting was held at the Sheraton and I made very good contacts there. There are three people I am interested in talking to today. One is for me and the others are for my clients. If there is one drawback I see in this meeting, it is that the seating arrangements are not very convenient and there is a language barrier. I wanted to talk to the Vice President but he can’t speak English and I can’t speak Italian,”
After introducing the entrepreneurs, the networking begins. Between 1992 and 2012, Italian investors have received a license for 111 projects with a registered capital of 2.85 billion birr. Gashaw finished by saying that Investors in Ethiopia enjoy duty and quota free market access opportunities in the EU, USA, Japan, India and other markets.