A new era in Dubai and Ethiopia’s bilateral relationship commenced with Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry announcing the opening of a representative office by the end of the year in Addis Ababa, said a press statement today.
The announcement came at the successful conclusion of the Dubai Chamber Trade Mission to Ethiopia held from May 15 to 17.
Thirty Dubai delegates and 200 participants attended the UAE-Ethiopia Business Forum held in Addis Ababa on the second day of the Dubai Chamber Trade Mission to Ethiopia which sought enhanced bilateral ties with the African country.
Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber, stated that the trade mission, which came as part of Dubai Chamber’s strategy to explore promising markets for its members, was highly successful as Ethiopia with its close proximity to Dubai is an ideal destination for the emirate’s businesses as it offers ample opportunities in agriculture, construction, hospitality and tourism sectors.
He further stressed that selecting Ethiopia, which is the fifth largest economy in Africa and poised to become the third largest in the next 10 years, was not done randomly but the choice is based on a lot of research and studies as Dubai can play a strategic role as a gateway for Ethiopian exports in the GCC and Middle East region, South East Asia and Europe, he said.
Dubai Chamber also revealed the plans for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Union during the Eastern African Community (EAC) Forum in Dubai in October which will inform the business community of Dubai about the investment potential of the African countries while allowing both the sides to discuss joint cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
Agreeing to sign a MoU with the African Union shows the commitment of both the sides while the move particularly reinforces the status and high reputation enjoyed by the emirate as the benefit of the agreement can be reaped by Dubai’s business community first, Buamim added.
The opening of the representative office will be the first in a series which Dubai Chamber intends to open as part of its new strategy to explore business opportunities for its members in new, untapped markets while enhancing their competitiveness in lucrative business destinations of the world.
The announcement is heralded as a positive outcome of the trade mission organised by Dubai Chamber in association with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UAE Embassy in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa Chamber, and the Ethiopian Consulate in Dubai. The delegation visited a flower farm and a Turkish textile factory and looked at investment opportunities in these areas.
Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber, highlighted the outcome of the trade mission which he said is the largest in the history of Dubai Chamber and showed instant benefits as some of the delegates agreed to start investment projects in Ethiopia’s agriculture and infrastructure sectors.
Al Ghurair also added that the meetings the members had during the three days of the trade mission also enabled them to come out with clear ideas about investment opportunities in Ethiopia, especially in the field of agriculture and food sectors as the UAE imports 80% of its food supplies from abroad.
The Chairman of Dubai Chamber pointed out to the UAE investors to invest in agricultural land in Ethiopia and to process and export its products to Dubai and beyond to the regional markets which will fetch them great profits while fulfilling the needs of the country’s food security.
During the UAE-Ethiopia Business Forum held on the second day of the visit, Tadesse Haile, Ethiopian State Minister of Industry, said the trade mission’s visit is an opportunity to work together in the areas of mutual cooperation since Ethiopia has very interesting business opportunities in agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing and tourism in addition to the availability of cheap labour force and raw material which make Ethiopia an ideal choice for overseas investors.
The Minister of Industry stated that the Ethiopian economy has recorded a growth of 11% during the last eight years whereas the country’s exports increased by 25% during the same period as the agricultural sector is expecting a growth of 11.2% and manufacturing sector 21.1% by 2015.
He added that Ethiopia is currently reviewing a number of laws and regulations which, once implemented, will be a major factor in attracting foreign direct investment to his county as he lauded the visit of the Dubai delegation which he said will open a new page in the bilateral ties of the two countries, he said.
On his part, Dr. Yousif Al Sabri, UAE Ambassador to Ethiopia, said that the visit played an important role in building bridges of cooperation between the two countries while informing that the UAE has strengthened its ranking as a trade and investment partner from 18 to 9 in the past two years as an important trade and investment partner for Ethiopia.
The ambassador also revealed his plans for organising a UAE-Ethiopia Trade Exhibition in Ethiopia by the end of the year which he said will showcase the investment opportunities for UAE businesses in the country.
Dr. Al Sabri lauded the efforts of Ethiopia to facilitate the trade mission and that of Dubai Chamber for its initiative of reaching out to promising markets of the world which he said came at the right time and will go a long way in building better relations between the two countries.
The delegation also met Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, who praised Dubai’s reputation as the main trading and logistics centre in the region while stating that the signing of the MoU shows the two sides’ willingness to take the relations to the next level.
Mwencha expressed the Union’s desire to make inroads into the region through Dubai and called upon UAE businesses to invest in infrastructure, energy and railways in the African Continent which he said has to boost its agricultural production through the use of latest technology as it is here that Dubai companies can play a vital role to help export the Union’s food products to the rest of the world, he said.