The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry plans to enter the Ethiopian market with a primary focus of engaging in the tourism as well as the real estate sectors, while facilitating conditions that would enable Ethiopian businesses introduce their products to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Organized jointly by the UAE Embassy in Addis Ababa and the Chamber of Commerce, the two-day business forum brought a delegation from Dubai to meet with their Ethiopian counterparts, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel here in Addis Ababa. Members of the business community held one-on-one discussion amongst themselves, aiming at cementing cooperation and networking among those participating.
At the sidelines of the event, Omar Abdulaziz Khan, Director of International Office under the International Relations of Dubai Chamber of Commerce told The Reporter that his delegation came to Ethiopia, after the recent development in the government’s decision to open the country’s market in a more inviting condition.
Bringing to mind that the Dubai Chamber of Commerce opened its office here in Addis Ababa in 2014, making it the first office on African soil, the director said that, “We have been waiting for a good business opportunity and studying all existing and potential opportunities since 2014,” he told The Reporter adding, “Now, there are lots of opportunities.”
Asked about the key areas, Khan explained that the primary focus includes the tourism sector followed by the real estate business, among others.
“As it is known, the weather is very hot in our region, especially in the summer. Meanwhile, the weather is very beautiful and comfortable here in Ethiopia. There is also amazing greenery for tourists. Furthermore, the culture is amazing, and the presence of historic religious monuments of Islam, Christianity and Judaism is amazing. Hence, we can have a good tourism business here. The connectivity is already there, as we already have Ethiopian Airlines, Fly Dubai and Emirates. This is a beautiful place to visit, with diverse culture, people and food.”
“Tourism is a very important business that we can tap into very well here. For instance, we accommodate around 90 million passengers annually. 75 million of these passengers go to other destinations. So, we are looking at how we can bring some of those passengers to Ethiopia,” he said, underlining the focus given to the sector.
Citing Dubai as one of the world’s top destination in wholesale businesses, he said: “We have something to bring to the market in terms of expertise. I think it will be transformative not only for the consumer here, but also for those who are coming here from abroad.”
During the opening session of the business forum, the State Minister of Trade and Industry, Misganu Arega said that Ethiopia has been working to exploit UAE’s enormous trade and investment potential, capitalizing on its wider business opportunities and geographic proximity.
According to the State Minister, the two countries have held various discussions to keep-up with their growing economic cooperation. And the latest business forum is a fruit of these discussions aimed at driving more UAE businesses to Ethiopia.
Misganu said that the government has formulated favorable investment policies and has allocated the bulk of its budget to infrastructural development, to facilitate conditions for investors who want to do business in the country.
During the occasion, representatives from the Ethiopian Investment Commission as well as the Ethiopian Industrial Parks Development Corporation presented the necessary business information, facts and data currently available in the Ethiopian investment and business environment.