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A delegation consisting of 15 Israeli companies held a business to business session with government institutions as well as private companies on September 9, 2015 at the Sheraton Addis Hotel.
The companies which are mostly involved in the agricultural sector met with their local counterparts with hopes of finding partners for possible joint ventures.
According to Eyal Zachor, the Marketing Coordinator at the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute and the head of the delegation, there is a lot of interest from the Ethiopian side and Israeli companies are willing to share their technologies and experiences.
“I see a lot of interest from the Ethiopian side and the Israel side is willing to share experiences. The Israeli economy is based on export and our mission is to help Israeli companies increase their export,” he stated.
According to him, at this point, the companies do not have the capital to invest directly and they can only share their knowledge with interested local companies. “Finding the right project and the right partners is a challenge. You have to bring the money, if you are serious; you have to also take the risk. The Israeli companies do not have the capital to invest so there is a need to source the finance from elsewhere,” Zachor said.
The annual trade relations between Ethiopia and Israel reached USD 112 million in 2013 from USD 46 million in 2004. According to Serkalem Adigeh, Director of Trade and Investment Promotion at the Israeli Embassy in Ethiopia, the business relations between the two countries is still very low but there is now more interest from both sides to cooperate and work together.
“There are already several Israeli companies working here in Ethiopia in areas such as agriculture and construction, for example. But the rate of business and investment is not at the level we would like it to be. We believe these business to business sessions will open doors to improving this situation,” he said.
Serkalem further stated that some Israeli companies do face some challenges when doing business in Ethiopia. “In their own country everything is done electronically but when they come here there is a lot of paper work and they find that challenging. They want to be able to do things as quickly as possible,” he said. He also stated that more and more companies will show interest in the future as starting and conducting business in Ethiopia becomes more efficient.
The delegation included companies from dairy and fattening, poultry, green house construction, large and small scale water irrigation system, fertilizer, farming and aquaculture sectors.