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Japanese delegation ink MoC, makes no investment commitments

Yet again another Japanese business mission to Ethiopia ends with no significant investment commitments being made, except advising the authorities to consider easing business procedures and policies, putting in place environmental safety regulation and improve the pool of skilled manpower, The Reporter has learnt. 

Numerous Japanese firms have visited Addis Ababa this week and met with government officials but were not convinced to outlay a sizable investment in Ethiopia for varied reasons.

Searching for favorable opportunities and friendly business environ, a delegation of 20 businesses led by Nobuhide Minorikawa, state minister of land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan, met with counterparts on Friday.

Accompanied by Dagmawit Moges, Minister of Transport and Tazer Gebre-Egziabher, state minister of Urban Development and Construction, the two sides have inked two Memorandums of Cooperation (MoC).

According to Minorikawa, the agreements will facilitate cooperation between the two countries in areas of quality infrastructures.

The second to be held in Ethiopia, “High-Quality Infrastructure Conference,” has brought some 20 Japanese contractors, construction equipment and machinery suppliers and the like to the country. This conference was first held in 2015 as part of business and investment mission to Africa for Japanese companies. 

The state minister has signaled the need for the government of Ethiopia and local firms to do better in areas of sustainability and safety issues, air quality, environmental protections, water resources management and the likes. However, Ethiopia’s reform initiatives have been positively received by the west and Ethiopia will be a central focus in the future, Minister Minorikawa said.

Despite the cooperation accords and will of expressions, it is hard to see concrete investments coming from Japan for reasons including: bureaucratic red tapes, taxation procedures, lack of skilled labor for high end industries, primitive industrial culture and in fact, the lack of information about opportunities and incentives for foreign investments in Ethiopia, are some of the shortcomings that hindered Japanese firms to come to Ethiopia.