U.S. admires Ethiopia’s increasing commercial competency

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Addis Ababa, 20 August 2014 (WIC) - The U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia Haslach said her country admired the increasing commercial competency of Ethiopia.   

In an exclusive interview with ENA, the Ambassador said that U.S. companies are inspired to invest in the country and be part of the fastest economy.

“We are very excited Ethiopia presents an excellent market and the largest growing economy in the world and a lot of opportunities here.” she said.     

She appreciated Ethiopia’s aspiration about becoming a middle income economy by 2025 saying “It is very admirable. All of the work leads to the MDGs. This is all extremely positive.”   

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets that are willing to continue the Trade and Development Act, she added.   

There are 470 U.S. companies with an aggregate capital of 1.5 billion USD, operate in Ethiopia since the last two decades in the areas of technology, agriculture, hotel and tourism, health, construction, manufacturing, power and textiles, among others.

These companies benefited over 100,000 employees. A number of other U.S. companies interested to invest various sectors, Haslach said.

The U.S.-based manufacturing giant, General Electric (GE), is planning to establish a medical equipment assembly plant in Ethiopia.   

The company is planning to assemble various medical equipments and machines in Addis Ababa and distribute them to African countries. They want to use the extensive cargo flight network of Ethiopian Airlines.   

The ambassador also appreciated the Ethiopian Airlines contribution in attracting investors and to the country’s economy. “It is an excellent Airline.”

“The Ethiopians Airlines is the biggest asset and power in Africa to invest not just in Ethiopia but also in the African continent. ... I fly with Ethiopian Airlines all the time.”

Ethiopia’s fastest economic growth over the past decade changes the relation with the U.S from aid and donation to economic partnership, according to American Affairs Director General with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Taye Atsikeselassie.

The involvement of giant U.S. companies in the Ethiopian economy is a success to the country because of the fact that their involvement here encourages other to come, he said.

He noted that U.S investment is different from other countries' investments in its reach knowledge and technology package and it will have an immense role in knowledge and technology transfer in the country and introduce with new way of doing things.

"American investment by enlarge is a high take investment. It is a knowledge based investment. So it transfers knowledge and technology. It is an instrument for job creation. Just like any other investments it opens upslope eyes because they are coming with new technologies with new way of doing things. It has cone of ripple effect. "

Due to the rigorous works of all stakeholders to attract U.S. investment, the country that has no business with the US a few years ago appears in the map of America’s investment destination, Amb. Taye said.

He stated that the country is handling investors with admirable asset prospects.

“We have good policies; we have the commitment and the willingness to stretch our hands embraced that cuddly capital they are always scarce risks. We are capable of doing or giving some regulatory incentives to companies.”

Public Relation Director with the Investment Agency, Getahun Negash also uttered that the U.S. investment in Ethiopia has been increasing over the past few years.

During the just concluded budget year (2006E.C), US stands second next to China in terms of number of projects (106 licensed projects) next to China.

Ethiopia and the U.S. have been enjoying strong relationship going back to 1903 when the first US ambassador arrived in Addis Ababa to present his credentials to Emperor Minelik II, though the people-to-people relations were much older.

According to ENA, U.S. is the first country that opened Embassy in Ethiopia.