Chinese investment in Ethiopia is picking up speed despite the current State of Emergency in Ethiopia. It has built on the continued wide-ranging cooperative relations between Ethiopia and China during the first six months of the current Ethiopian budget year. This is a result of an investment promotion strategy prioritizing the participation of ‘anchor’ companies in Ethiopia’s manufacturing sector. Their participation at a greater level, quality and substance in the manufacturing sector reinforces the vision, aspirations and needs of the country in its aims to enter the stage of an economic takeoff and achieve economic modernization in the shortest possible time. Indeed, the growing presence of ‘anchor’ companies from China reflects the fact that the economic relationship gains momentum from the continued growth of mutual trust in governmental and political areas, and the frequent high-level exchanges, which are becoming a central element in Ethio-Chinese friendship and relationship.
The Commissioner for the Ethiopian Investment Agency, Fitsum Arega, said on Monday (February 13), that the presence of Chinese enterprises was growing in Ethiopia due to the country’s sound investment strategy, deployed to attract ‘anchor’ companies. This was in addition to the favorable investment opportunities given to these enterprises. This growing interest and presence of Chinese investment was the result of specific Ethiopian investment promotion activity over the last six-months of the budget year, giving special attention to attracting ‘anchor’ enterprises. This underlined the importance and value of the participation of ‘anchor’ companies in the manufacturing sector, the Commissioner emphasized.
The Commissioner also went on to specify that ten giant ‘anchor’ companies from the People’s Republic of China had recently decided to invest in Ethiopia. He welcomed the interest and commitment shown by these companies, noting that half of them were licensed in the textile and garment manufacturing industries. He added that that the decision taken by these companies to invest in Ethiopia clearly showed that the country had continued to become a favorable investment destination for ‘anchor’ companies. This was as a result of the government’s investment promotion blueprint which concentrated on mainstream ‘anchor’ companies because of their huge contribution to the creation of more jobs and the sharing of mutual benefits.
Commissioner Fitsum said this investment promotion strategy would enable the country to attract further Foreign Direct Investment that could be changed into reality and benefit the country through job creation as well as revenue earnings. The strategic focus was now pivoted towards attracting ‘anchor’ companies, and was aimed at meeting the targets of both the companies and the country. The Commission in adopting this strategy had changed its way of doing business including altering its methods of attracting and licensing projects. Priority was now placed on those enterprises with a high profile. In addition to the new ways of doing business in terms of licensing, the strategy also prioritized attracting and licensing companies which were action-oriented and practical, with real results impacting the development infrastructure of the country. This has helped Ethiopia to attract the 10 giant Chinese companies. Jiangsu Sunshine Group, one of these companies which has decided to invest in textile and garment manufacturing, is engaged in a wide range of areas – wool textiles and garments, biological pharmacy, real estate, energy, thermal electricity, IT industry, and other businesses in China and internationally. It has decided to invest in Ethiopia with close to US1 billion.
The peace and stability which continue to prevail in the country and its ongoing infrastructure development, trainable workforce with competitive wages and a fast growing economy coupled with strong support from the government and favorable investment climate are the driving forces encouraging the companies to invest in Ethiopia. Commissioner Fitsum said all this meant that Ethiopia had still managed to attract projects worth US$1.2 billion during the first six months of the financial year, although this represented a fall over the previous six months. China was now the leading country investment in Ethiopia both in terms of capital and engagement in manufacturing industry, while India comes next during the first half year.
Source: MoFA-Week in the Horn