The Ethio-Turkey Business Forum was held at the Sheraton Addis on Thursday (January 22). Addressing the Forum, Solomon Afework, President of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, said that over the past year the visit made by First Lady, Roman Tesfaye and leading Ethiopian business men and women, and the holding of the second Ethio-Turkey Business Forum were clear manifestations of strong ties between the two countries
. Mr. Omer Chihad Vardan, Chair of Foreign and Economic Board of Turkey (DIEC) told the Forum that since 2003 the volume of trade between Ethiopia and Turkey had grown seven fold. He said during the same period the number of Turkish companies active in Ethiopia grew from one to thirty eight. They had created thirty two thousand jobs. Mr. Vardan said that with their investment totalling three billion dollars, Turkish companies were the biggest private sector hirers in the country.
Ethiopia had become the headquarters of Turkish investment in Africa. Fistum Arega, Director-General of the Ethiopian Investment Commission identified Ethiopia’s low labor costs as a real incentive for Turkish investment in textiles and garments. He also drew attention to Ethiopia’s 90 million plus population and the importance of its domestic market which is being further expanded through growing integration of the region. He mentioned the potential for manufacturing of construction materials as another area for Turkish business, pointing out that Ethiopia currently relied on import of products such as ceramics and paints. Niyat Zybecki, Minister of Economy of Turkey, emphasized the importance of conducting frequent fora to give new impetus to the growing ties between Ethiopian and Turkey.
He said a similar forum is planned for Istanbul within the next two months. He also welcomed the Ethiopian government’s commitment to remove impediments to Turkish investors involving the exchange rate, taxation and other bureaucratic hurdles. President Erdogan and Prime Minister Hailemariam also addressed the Forum. President Erdogan strongly urged Turkish investors to invest in Ethiopia in the textile, garment, energy and manufacturing sectors; Prime Minister Hailemariam who welcomed Turkish engagement with Africa, pointing out that the continent was now a net growth pole, recognized Turkish investors as key partners in the implementation of Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan.
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