July 15, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Sudanese business firms have become the second largest foreign investors in Ethiopia after China, the state-run Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency said.
According Awad al-Kareem, president of the Sudanese Investors Society in Addis Ababa, the amount of capital investment made in Ethiopia by Sudanese firms has reached around $2.4 billion.
Al-Kareem said more and more Sudanese firms are investing in Ethiopia due the favourable investment opportunities created by the government comparing the existing difficulties in Khartoum to acquire investment licenses among others.
To attract more foreign investors, the Ethiopia government has made available a special loan fund through the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) enabling investors to have a loan of up to 70% of the cost of a feasible project.
Among other investment incentives the country offers for foreign investors, is land which is available to be leased at a very cheap cost.
According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Industry, currently there are over 800 Sudanese firms operating in the country in areas of Agriculture, manufacturing, construction and other areas.
Al-Kareem said the Ethiopian government is planning to amend the minimum investment capital for foreign investors from $200 to $3 million to encourage the flow of investors coming in.
Ethiopia has an immense potential in attracting investment into its agriculture sector with huge fertile arable land accounting around 515 million hectares of the total landscape.
The East African country which is Africa’s second most populace nation is also the continent’s political hub and geographical close to the Middle East and Gulf nations.
A survey conducted last year by the World Bank indicates that Ethiopia is one the few African countries where business was easy to start.
According to government figures the country has been registering double-digit growth of between 10 to 12 percent during the past 10 years, however, opposition political groups criticise the figures provides, saying they have been highly exaggerated beyond the actual growth figures.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), says actual growth is average 5 to 7 percent.