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The Ethiopian government is investing heavily in the agricultural sector to strengthen the linkages between farming, agro-processing and value addition; participants at the International Agro-Industry Investment Forum that opened on Monday this week said.
The four daylong event saw the attendance of over 3,000 stakeholders in the food processing, textile and garment, leather and leather products and other related sectors such as packaging and energy.
Organized by the Ethiopian government and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the forum was officially opened by President Mulatu Teshome. The president underlined that at the center of Ethiopia’s agro-industry development activities is the development of agro-processing parks in the different regions.
“Agro-industry parks are built in an integrated manner to address constraints related to land access, infrastructure, trade logistics, customs regulations and skills,” the president said. It was further stated that the government is taking proactive measures to expedite the establishment process of four pilot agro-industrial parks by allocating seed funds to support infrastructure development.
“To achieve this, the government is fast tracking industrial goal development. In just three to five years we have seen three state of the art textile industry clusters, which are already attracting internationally recognized manufacturers, in Hawassa, Mekele and Kombolacha”, added Minister of Industry Ahmed Abtew who was also present at the opening.
UNIDO commended the government’s commitment to achieve the Growth and Transformation Plan phase two (GTP2) and leading the country towards attaining middle income country status.
The Forum featured participants from the public and business sector, including current and potential investors, international and domestic enterprises, industry associations, international organizations and financial institutions, as well as representatives from the government of Ethiopia.
The Forum featured specific investment opportunities and investment incentive regimes, as well as facilitated business linkages through a series of networking activities – including B2B, an exhibition for national and international companies and a field visit to an industrial park.