Enhancing Ethio-Scottish links through trade, investment and partnerships

11 Dec 2020

For centuries, Ethiopia and the UK have enjoyed close economic, diplomatic, and cultural relations. With Scotland in particular, Ethiopia shares a unique historical attachment through the 18th-century expeditions of James Bruce, the renowned explorer, and writer. Bruce explored the Blue Nile Basin and, in February 1770, reached Gondar, then the capital of Ethiopia, where he lived for some years.

These relations have provided an important foundation for the Embassy to host the first of its kind webinar on 10th December 2020, in conjunction with the Honorary Consul for Ethiopia in Scotland.

Titled, Doing Business in Ethiopia: Opportunities for trade, investment, and partnerships for Scotland, the webinar included a range of panellists and delegates – from government officials to chambers of commerce, to universities, associations, and private businesses – and aimed to showcase the various opportunities that Ethiopia offers for the Scottish market, and the support available.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Ambassador Teferi Melesse, highlighted the ambitious economic roadmap of economic and educational reform that Ethiopia has embarked on over the last two and a half years, which are aimed at energising private sector growth, attracting greater FDI, and stimulating the country’s nascent knowledge economy.

“Scottish investors can look forward to the prospect of investing in a country that even in the era of the Pandemic, has continued to register growth at a rate that most countries would only dream of. In fact, I am pleased to report that, in 2020, Ethiopia has once again beaten the odds, emerging as the fastest growing economy in Africa and the second-fastest in the world,” the Ambassador said.

The Ambassador concluded by reaffirming the Embassy’s and Honorary Consul’s guidance and support for those who wish to invest and partner with Ethiopia.

The State Minister for Economic Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ms. Tsion Teklu, said, that Ethiopia has deepened reforms with a view to improving ease of doing business in the country and that numerous opportunities are available for the Scottish business community to invest in priority sectors such as leather and leather products, textiles and garments, horticulture, construction and infrastructure development, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, tourism, as well as power generation.

H.E. Ambassador Mesganu, State Minister at the Ministry of Trade and Industry noted that the webinar was an important forum to enhance economic relations between Ethiopia and Scotland. “Ethiopia is currently undertaking deep political and economic reforms to encourage more trade and investment to the country, so it’s the right time to engage with Ethiopia,” the State Minister said. “The government is committed to improving the ease of doing business in Ethiopia in order to attract foreign direct investment.” He concluded by calling upon the private sector in Scotland to increase their investment in Ethiopia and assured of the Ministry’s full support in doing so.

…Ethio-UK trade on the rise

Trade between Ethiopia and the UK has been steadily growing over the last few years. Also among the distinguished keynote speakers was the newly-appointed British Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Ethiopia, The Rt Hon Lord Bates, who noted that Ethiopia was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Lord Bates said that in the first quarter of 2020, the total value of trade of goods and services between the UK and Ethiopia was £1.2 billion – a 59.2% increase compared to the previous year. Exports increased by 50%. Imports from Ethiopia increased by 73.4%.

“This demonstrates that this is a fast-growing economy but also a very important trading partner for the United Kingdom,” Lord Bates said.

Lord Bates also announced that the British government will be doubling the amount of UK Export Finance available to UK companies doing business in Ethiopia from £1 billion to £2 billion. He concluded by announcing that the UK-Africa Investment Summit will take place virtually on 20th January 2020, which will provide another opportunity to enhance Ethio-UK partnership.

The webinar was divided into three sessions which explored opportunities for trade and investment in Ethiopia, practical advice and support for investors and exporters, and finally partnerships in science and higher education.

From Ethiopia, panellists included Mr. Bruck Teshome from the Ethiopian Investment Commission; Dr. Solomon Kasssa from the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and National Gas; Engineer Melaku Ezezew and Mr. Yesuf Ademnur from the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association, and Professor Afework Kassu and Dr. Eba Mijena from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

The webinar also presented opportunities for Scottish counterparts to highlight the range of sectors in which Scotland excels, and which would align with Ethiopia’s ambitions, such as renewable energy, education, oil and gas, and agriculture.

Panellists included Mr. Frazer Lang, CEO of Scottish Africa Business Association; Ms. Claire Alexander, CEO of Africa Scotland Business Network; Dr. Neil Burnside from Strathclyde University; Mr. John Ayanaba from the University of West of Scotland and Dr. Darren Watt from the University of Edinburgh.

At the conclusion of the webinar, Professor John Struthers, Ethiopia’s Honorary Consul in Scotland said:

“This very constructive webinar today raised awareness of the tremendous opportunities in Ethiopia for trade, investment, and partnerships between Scottish companies, chambers of commerce, and universities. There are so many complementary areas of economic interest between the two countries including oil and gas, energy, construction, textiles, and of course food and drink. I look forward to helping these collaborations to flourish.”

Ethiopia, is OPEN for BUSINESS!


For further information, please email the Embassy at press@ethioembassy.org.uk.

Presentations from the panellists are available on request.

The full recording of the webinar is available on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EthioEmbassyUK and also be available on our YouTube page.




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