Webinar on Building momentum in India – Ethiopia Economic Partnership through Trade and Investment Opportunities

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) with the support of The Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, New Delhi organized a special webinar on 07
th October, 2020. The topic of the webinar was building momentum in India – Ethiopia Economic Partnership through Trade and Investment Opportunities to provide a fresh impetus to the robust India-Ethiopia partnership.
H.E. Mrs. Tsion Teklu, State Minister for Economic Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Dr. Tizita Mulugeta, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ms. Nagma M Mallick, Additional Secretary (Africa), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, ASSOCHAM and Co-Founder & MD, Hiranandani Group, Engineer Melaku Ezezew, President, Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association, Mr. Aschalew Tadesse, Director, Foreign Direct Investment Promotion, Ethiopia Investment Commission (EIC), Mr. Sunder Belani, Managing Director, Ramsons Group, Mr. Kushagra Nandan, Co-Founder and President SunSource Energyn,Mr. Arjun Bhaskaran, Member, Advisory Board, Reach Technologies andMs. Sheila Sudhakaran, Editor, Trendsnafrica, were part of the panel.
H.E. Mrs. Tsion Teklo delivered the keynote remarks at the Webinar and said, The Ethiopia-India relationship dates back centuries, but it is the people to people ties that are the true hallmark of this relationship. In Ethiopia, Indians are not considered as foreigners. She also said, Indian companies are the third top and largest foreign investors in India, with more than 600 Indian companies marking their presence in Ethiopia with over US$5Billion licensed investments in various sectors including agriculture, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, engineering, plastics, textiles, ICT, education.
In her remarks, the Minister quoted “We assure you of the readiness of the Ethiopian government to support Indian investors to come and explore the untapped Ethiopian market. I also urge you to consider what Ethiopia offers in terms of manufacturing and exports for the local and international markets, and we welcome India to be a part of our amazing story as we go higher and higher. I invite Indian companies to visit Ethiopia, to explore the opportunities, but most of all to share experiences and build capacities.”
Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani, President, ASSOCHAM opened the webinar with his Welcoming remarks. He said, the two countries go back to 2000 years of relationship. People moved between the two countries for trade centuries ago. We want to re-strengthen the same ties between the two countries. We are looking forward to relationships in different types of activities whether it is in health, infrastructure, trade, investments, as a bilateral position between our countries. He further added, the government has taken great care in order to sign various understandings between our two countries, such as trade agreement 2017, double taxation avoidance agreement 2011, trilateral investment promotion protection agreement 2007, trade agreement 1998, joint business council between our two countries. All this has helped to bridge the relationship between the two countries.The purpose of this meeting is to extend a friendly hand of relationship, to increase business and we look forward to a wonderful relationship in the future.
H.E. Dr. Tizita Mulugeta, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia delivered special remarks at the webinar. She said, Ethiopia is the first African country to start official diplomatic relation in India in 1948 and open its embassy. Throughout all these years, we have seen Ethiopia and India’s diplomatic and commercial relations growing significantly specially in the areas of trade and investment. Among all the companies that are found in Ethiopia, Indian companies are among the top three foreign investors which successfully established their presence in Ethiopia. She further added, we highly encourage Indian companies to take part in our priority areas of investment which include agro processing, pharmaceuticals, ICT, Power, mining, textiles and garments, leather products etc.
Ms. Nagma M Mallick, Additional Secretary (Africa), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India gave special remarks at the webinar and said that both countries are characterized by Diversity, Population, language and culture. Ethiopia has been the great success story of Africa and India has been a partner in this journey. There is a presence of over 586 Indian Companies in Ethiopia. About 61% of the Investments from India in Ethiopia are into Manufacturing Industry. The Exim Bank African headquarters are also in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. India is one of the largest investors in Ethiopia. India provides duty free and quota free Market access to least developed countries since 2008 under Duty Free Tarif Preference Scheme. Many agreements have bene signed between both nations. No Visa fee is charged for Ethiopian Africans seeking business visa. India has offered concessional loans to Sugar factories and power transmission lines in Ethiopia. The MEA in India has created 4 different DPA divisions for enhancing cooperation with Africa. India is known as the pharmacy of the world and we are proud of this recognition. We are proud that many Ethiopians visit India for medical care and we hope that once situation normalizes, these medical visits resumes. The travel of students to India also needs a restart. India has provided covid related medical assistance to over 31 countries in Africa. Within a short span of time, India has achieved self-sufficiency in medical devices and equipment’s to counter the covid pandemic and our Ministry of Commerce has also lifted all restrictions on export of these items. She said, Our External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar has recently quoted “India offers Africa an honest partnership, and room to maximise its space under the sun and multiply its options”
Engineer Melaku Ezezew, President, Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association said this webinar will serve as a platform for opportunity to extend the business opportunities.  So far in Ethiopia, Indian companies investing in sectors like agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, cotton textiles, solar energy, hotel management, ICT, pharmaceuticals. 
We know that India is one of the sourcing economies in its quality product more in technology.  It will be an important discussion of local businesses for Indian counterparts. Giving attention to growth and development strategies, it is exceedingly appropriate to this context. India contributed 1.6 billion export to the world. 
The dynamics of Ethiopian economy visions at COVID-19 era that it keeps on accelerating by diversing trade, resources, self-sustaining. Opportunities for India in investing in key strategic areas like IT and innovation, dairy and food industry and pharmaceuticals and chemicals and others.
Mr. Aschalew Tadesse, Director, Foreign Direct Investment Promotion, Ethiopia Investment Commission (EIC) delivered a presentation on various Investment opportunities in Ethiopia. He said, Ethiopia has undergone significant changes over the last couple of years in terms of opening up of the economy. Several reforms are underway to create a predictable, transparent and efficient regulatory framework. Ethiopia is building mega infrastructure projects to boost investment, which will capitalize on its existing geographic and market access advantages. Ethiopia is undergoing continued political, economic and structural reforms, expanding investment opportunities for FDIs. As one of the largest recipients of FDI in Africa, Ethiopia has attracted several global brands highlighting competitive investment opportunities. He further added Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) is the lead government agency responsible for Investment promotion, Registration & Licensing, Incentive and facilitation services.
Mr. Sunder Belani, Managing Director, Ramsons Group said Ethiopia is also committed to SDGs and has set out its vision in National Health Policy to attain the highest level of good health and well-being through a preventive and promotive healthcare orientation in all healthcare policies and universal access to good health care and services without any financial hardship. This has been factored in the India-Africa development cooperation in healthcare sector. Keeping in mind where India's experience and remedies could be mere suitably adapted to Africa and Ethiopia's healthcare needs. He further added, We took COVID crises into opportunity and got deep healthcare and we at Ramsons provide state of the art solutions and equipment. We are manufacturer of biggest manufacturer of Industrial Hygiene Laundries for hospitals, pharmaceutical companies with clean robe technologies that ensures all apparel and linen is virus free, bacteria free. We are working all over the world for Clean Robe Technologies with our European Partners.
Mr. Kushagra Nandan, Co-Founder and President SunSource Energy said many factors indicate that Ethiopia will be the new growth engine for Africa because of many reasons such as, strategic location between Europe and Asia, a promising start up ecosystem, focus on increasing private investments and a huge population, 70% of which is aged under 30 years.Energy is one of the most important sectors in the India - Ethiopia relationship and we feel that both countries can learn from each other. We believe Ethiopia would be the fastest growing country in the continent. Indians have done great in solar sector in the last decade and we are confident that Indians can play a significant role in.
Mr. Arjun Bhaskaran, Member, Advisory Board, Reach Technologies said Ethiopia has recorded rapid economic growth of 9.4% and accompanied by very rapid export growth which is 12.8% between 2006-2016.Apparel exports have gone from USD 2 million in 2006 to USD 106 million in 2018.The entire international apparel industry is looking Ethiopia as the next growth of apparel.We also believe that Bangladesh is no. 2 in apparel exports and Vietnam is no. 3. and has comparable population as Ethiopia. With the kind of advantage of labour force advantage Ethiopia has, it can achieve great heights in achieving production capacity and achieving competitiveness.Ethiopia has emerged as an important player in global value apparel chain. Software is going to be a critical tool in building Ethiopia apparel long term competitiveness.India would be the ideal partner of Ethiopia in realizing this. We are the only economy with significant science in apparel and as well as IT.We can contribute in a big way in skill development, training for apparel work force development. India can contribute in organizational development and capacity building of technology and business managers.
The webinar was conducted and moderated by Ms. Sheila Sudhakaran, Editor, Trendsnafrica and Africa4u. The Webinarconcluded with a vote of thanks to theesteemed panelists by Mr. Santosh Mathew, Senior Director and Head, International Affairs, ASSOCHAM.
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