Speech by H.E. Ambassador Teferi Melesse Desta at the Ethiopian Investment Forum

2 Sep 2021
2 September 2021
London, United Kingdom | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

[check against delivery]

 

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen,

At the outset, allow me to express my sincere thanks to the distinguished panellists, moderators, and participants for taking time out of their busy schedules to engage, from near and far, in our investment forum, today.

Today’s forum is the first of its kind to be organised by the Embassy of Ethiopia in London in conjunction with ROCKSTONE Ethiopia and Cerberus Frontier – two companies leading from the front in tapping into the immense investment potential in Ethiopia.

I would also be remiss not to thank our physical hosts here in London – Addis Fine Art – who are so graciously hosting us today. For those of you who are unaware, Addis Fine Art is the home away from home for Ethiopian artists and their art, and has, since 2016, been one of the leading African galleries in the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my hope that today’s event will serve as a showcase for the great unexploited investment potential Ethiopia possesses. This fact is easily exemplified by the significant interest generated by today’s event amongst interested stakeholders across the world.

I would be forgiven to think my role here, today, is very simple. All the key cogs needed to propel this event and a new era of investment into Ethiopia are within reach, and I am supremely confident that today can act as a catalyst for fruitful engagements going forward.

Today, you will hear from industry experts on Ethiopia’s current investment climate and the particular investment opportunities offered by the real estate sector – a worthwhile investment given the increasing demand for housing in the country.

The construction and real estate industries are a major economic driver for Ethiopia and the Government’s focus on infrastructural and industrial development has turned the country into one of the continent’s highest performing economies.

With a growing population, economy, and increasing urbanisation rates, there is a huge demand for housing, especially affordable housing. Furthermore, as the local middle- and upper-income classes increase, and with Addis Ababa being the diplomatic capital of Africa as the home of the African Union, UNECA, and more than 100 Embassies and international organisations, more high-end options will be needed, as I’m sure ROCKSTONE Ethiopia will attest to. Therefore, today’s forum presents a priceless opportunity for investors to get ahead of the curve and to reap the reward of Ethiopia’s developmental windfall.

You will also hear, today, from officials at the Vodafone Group, who just a few months ago, were awarded the first private telecoms license in Ethiopia’s history as part of the Global Partnership for Ethiopia consortium bid. This historic agreement represents the largest FDI into Ethiopia and it is my hope that it only represents the beginning of what is to come in the years ahead.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I need not remind you of our current circumstances. Though the Pandemic has deprived us of much over the last 18 months, it has not robbed us of the spirit that underlies our engagements today – the common desire to create wealth, development, and prosperity for our societies.

Over the last three years, my country has embarked on an ambitious roadmap of economic reforms aimed at energising private sector growth, attracting greater FDI, and stimulating the country’s nascent knowledge economy. These home-grown reforms have already had a significant impact on the business and investment environment in Ethiopia – an environment, which we believe is more fertile than ever for foreign investment.

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 envy. Add to this, developments including the coming online of the African Continental Free Trade Area, liberalisations in previously closed economic sectors, and the revamping of the education sector, and you have, not just a recipe for success, but a recipe to invest.

Finally, I want to assure you that as you embark on your journey to invest and partner in the Land of Origins, our Embassy and counterparts in Ethiopia will be there to guide and support you every step of the way. In coordination with our very capable colleagues in Addis Ababa, we are committed to supporting your vision from inception to fruition.

Once again, I wish to welcome and thank all participants for joining us today and wish you all success in the deliberations to come.

—ENDS—

Full coverage of the Ethiopian Investment Forum will be available on our YouTube page soon.

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