Australia is making moves to strengthen its trade and investment ties with Ethiopia. In a statement issued this week, Australian Ambassador to the Central African Republic, Djibouti, Ethiopia and South Sudan, Peter Doyle said he had met with a section of Australian leaders from the country’s business and social sectors.
He stated that he was happy to gain insights into living and working in Ethiopia.
Following the meeting, Doyle thanked Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) Chief of Staff, Ewnetu Feleke for acquainting Australia with new investment initiatives and answering questions around investment opportunities and challenges in the country.
The Ethiopian Investment Commission is a government organization established in 1992 to promote private investment, primarily foreign direct investment. The overall activities of the Commission are supervised and followed up by an Investment Board, which is chaired by the Prime Minister.
The organization’s mission is to enhance investment, both foreign and local in the country by promoting its resource potentials and divestment opportunities, initiating policy and implementation measures to create a conducive investment climate and providing efficient services to investors so as to bring fast and sustainable economic development in the country.
Doyle, who is also Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU), made his announcement at a time when Ethiopia is aggressively seeking investments from the international community.
Mid-last year, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed highlighted opportunities in Ethiopia and urged the diaspora to invest in their home country. He was speaking at a dinner event for the region’s business leaders, scholars, entrepreneurs and professionals.
In November 2018, Ethiopia announced that its government will be offering tax breaks and other incentives to lure foreign drug manufacturers. The East African nation’s government forecasts that demand for medicines will increase by almost a third within the next ten years.
Ethiopians already spend $700 million a year on pharmaceuticals, but only a fifth of these drugs are produced locally. Spending on medication is expected to grow to more than $900 million by 2020, according to data from the Ethiopian Investment Commission.
As at July 2018, Ethiopia had attracted a total foreign direct investment (FDI) of $3.75 billion.
And just days ago, the Ethiopian Investment Commission confirmed that it has issued licenses to 94 foreign investment projects in the last five months, which registered a total capital of 23.6 billion Birr (over $840 million).
Ethiopia’s government is well aware of the country’s investment potential and has therefore encouraged foreign business leaders to take advantage of the lucrative opportunities available.