Ethio-Brazilian Business Forum in Sao Paulo
An Ethio-Brazilian Business and Investment Forum was held last week at the Sheraton WTC Hotel in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Co-organized by WAFA Marketing and Promotion Plc and World Trade Center in partnership with Afro Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Brazil, the forum brought together more than 130 companies, representatives of business communities and government officials from both countries.
Eshetu Dessie, House Speaker of the Parliament of the Oromia Regional State and Board Member of WAFA Marketing and Promotion Plc. led the Ethiopian delegation which included 2 members of the Business Diplomacy Directorate General of MoFA and around 20 representatives of business organizations and institutions. In his keynote address, Head of the Ethiopian delegation, Eshetu Dessie noted that Ethiopia and Brazil have enjoyed more than half a century of historic relations. The Speaker further emphasized the need to translate these links to foster Ethio-Brazil all-round cooperation and further enhance economic and business ties between the businesses and the governments of both countries. Describing the Forum as an important platform for promoting and strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries, Eshetu called upon investors from the Brazil to take advantage of Ethiopia's emerging market and vast opportunities in a range of areas. Ethiopian Ambassador to Brazil, Sinknesh Ejigu, underlined the historical, political, commercial ties that defined the two countries' long-standing bilateral relations and went on to note that Ethiopia was deeply committed to jointly make business cooperation as a driving force for the mutual advancement of the two countries and peoples overall relations.
The official inauguration of Honorary Consulates of Ethiopia in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo on May 4 and 8 , 2017 respectively and the appointment of well-meaning and experienced businessmen as the Honorary Consuls of Ethiopia will certainly further deepen the cultural, political and economic ties between the two friendly Nations, she added.
Ethiopia, she said offers strong internal market opportunities to Brazilian investors and businesses, in part emanating from the fact that Ethiopia is the second populous country in Africa. Ambassador Sinknesh stressed that Ethiopia has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with a double digit economic growth over the past thirteen years and the opportunities for Brazilian investors were correspondingly substantial.
The Ambassador encouraged the Brazilian government and the different State authorities to support and collaborate with Brazilian investors to enable them to invest in Ethiopia.
Representing the Brazilian private sector, Andrea Menzes, CEO, Standard Bank in Brazil, on her part reiterated the importance of the event which, she said, underscored the growing relationship between Ethiopia and Brazil, through a growing partnership and cooperation on development, trade and investment. She further reiterated the importance of the role of trade and commerce in boosting relations between the two countries and emphasized the way trade could be an important agent of change in empowering people. She believed Brazilian resources, skills and expertise would be able to provide the professional expertise and support needed to match Ethiopia's ambitions, and described the country, "as a nation with a huge and growing market which you should not and cannot ignore."
The Business and Investment Forum included presentations on investment and trade potential and opportunities available in its "Africa for Business, Why Ethiopia ? " session. Araya Gebregziabher, Director of Business Promotion (MoFA) highlighted some of the excellent reasons for investing in Ethiopia.: He said, "Ethiopia has everything that you need to look for in taking a decision about where to invest: clear vision, strategy and promoted sectors; fast and sustainable economic growth and development; untapped natural resources ;availability of abundant and wage competitive labor force; fast growing infrastructure and very cheap green energy; a sizeable and captive market (market access); and attractive investment incentives conducive business environment." The director also provided strong reasons for Brazilian businesses to become involved in Ethiopia.
Dawit Hailu, Managing Director of Wudassie Diagnostic Center, also briefed the gathering on the investment opportunities in the Ethiopian health sector Luiz Cornacchioni, Executive Director of Brazilian Agribusiness Association (ABAG) and Mr. Paulo Hegg, Managing Director of Brazilian Agro Industrial Company BAC also made presentations about their esteemed institutions and their experiences on Africa at large and Ethiopia in particular.
The Ethio-Brazilian Business and Investment Forum concluded with a closing panel discussion on the nature and type of business and investment opportunities currently present in Ethiopia for Brazilian investors with an interest to do business in Ethiopia. It also provided the opportunity for networking of Ethiopian and Brazilian business representatives and investors.
The forum provided not only an opportunity for Brazilian companies to see and learn about prospects in Ethiopia but offered Business to Business opportunities through matchmaking sessions and company visits.