British trade, investment envoy in debut visit

23 Oct 2017

The British Prime Minister’s newly appointed trade and investment envoy to Ethiopia, Mr Jeremy Lefroy MP, made his first official visit to Ethiopia from 21st – 22nd September.

On assuming his role, Mr Lefroy said:

“It is a great honour to have been appointed. Ethiopia is a beautiful country whose people have a proud history and bright future. As well as being Africa’s pre-eminent coffee producer and a wonderful country for visitors, it is investing in modern manufacturing enterprises and the infrastructure to support them…The election of former health minister Dr Tedros as Secretary General of the WHO also shows Ethiopia’s contribution to and influence in global health. I look forward to working with UK and Ethiopian businesses to expand trade between our two countries.”

Mr Lefroy met senior Government officials from the Ministries of Finance, Water, Irrigation & Electricity and Communications & Information Technology and called in on the Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission, the Ethiopian Railway Commission and the Commodities Exchange. He discussed areas where the UK and Ethiopia can deepen their trade and investment relationship. A reception with the British Investors’ Group and a visit to Unilever’s new factory, gave an insight into the country’s growing manufacturing sector.

He said:

“Ethiopia is a frontier economy with one of the world’s fastest growth rates, it has one of the highest investment rates in the world, with the world’s lowest energy price. Its infrastructure programme is of considerable interest and I welcome that Ethiopia wants to develop the trade and investment relationship with the UK. I hope that I can help deliver jobs and growth for Ethiopia, while building a commercial relationship which sees UK firms invest, grow and build export success in Ethiopia.”

British Ambassador HE Ms Susanna Moorehead said “I am delighted that the new Trade Envoy Jeremy Lefroy MP is visiting Ethiopia, [the first visit by a newly appointed trade envoy anywhere in the world]. His appointment reaffirms the UK’s commitment, set out by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during his visit earlier this year, to strengthen our trade and investment relationship with Ethiopia. I am confident that with Jeremy’s support the UK–Ethiopia trade and investment relationship will reach new heights.”

Bilateral trade in goods between the UK and Ethiopia has already grown by 84% in the past five years. The recent Ethiopian Airlines £1.2 billion order from UK manufacturer Rolls Royce for ten A350 engines and maintenance and repair services demonstrates the growth potential, if it is supported by a concerted effort from both sides.

U.K. firm Diageo’s $339m investment to acquire Meta Abo Brewery allowed for a new expansion project to increase the capacity of the facility. A number of British firms have also invested in mining, consumer goods, processed food and the leather industry. There is significant UK investment in renewable energy and growing UK commercial interest to invest in the infrastructure, manufacturing and consumer goods sectors.

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