Dutch private sectors met Ethiopian business delegations
On November 5th, a unique event focusing on solely on Ethiopia-Netherlands business relations took place in Rijswijk, the Netherlands. Organized by the Netherlands Embassy in Ethiopia and the Netherlands-African Business Council, this event brought together the Dutch private sector with their Ethiopian counterparts. Over 140 Dutch companies and 30 Ethiopian companies came together to learn more about six key sectors –all providing ample business opportunities for the Dutch private sector-: Construction & Logistics, Oilseeds, Dairy, Spices, Vegetable Seed and Textiles. Apart from the private sector, a high public sector delegation including the Ethiopian State Minister of Agriculture, the Ethiopian Ambassador to the Benelux and the Netherlands Ambassador to Ethiopia were present during this daylong event.
Speaking at the event Christiaan Rebergen, Director-General International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said trade cooperation between the two nations is largely growing, mentioning that Netherlands is the second largest investor in Ethiopia from the EU countries. ”As a government, we are working on what we call combining aid and trade by providing financial instruments to Dutch and Ethiopian companies to invest in Ethiopia in sectors the Ethiopian government outlined as priority investment areas”, he added encouraging more Dutch companies to invest in Ethiopia.
According to Ahmed Shide, Ethiopian State Minister of Finance and Economics Cooperation, the Ethiopian government has been working to develop infrastructure, build institutions and human skill formation to reduce the cost of doing business in Ethiopia. He also indicated that the business event focuses on the sectors that his government takes as priority area on its development agenda and expressed his government's commitment to improving investment situations in the country. “Dutch private sectors are extensively involved in Ethiopia. However investment opportunities available in Ethiopia are not fully optimized”, he added.
The two governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together combining development and economic cooperation. The MoU is said to facilitate trade, development and other development cooperation between The Netherlands and Ethiopia.
Also in the business event, companies involved in sectors of seeds (tomatoes, potatoes), oilseeds, poultry, dairy, spices, textiles and logistics/construction sat together in workshops to discuss and explore potential investment and cooperation between the two private sectors. Furthermore, Ethiopian companies already with Dutch roots working in Ethiopia - Heineken, Solagrow PLC and Florensis shared their experiences of doing business in Ethiopia.
On the 6th of November the delegation visited multiple companies in the abovementioned sectors. Both governmental and private delegations had for instance constructive meetings with project engineer Royal HaskoningDHV, nuts processing company Intersnack, vegetable seeds producer Rijk Zwaan and steel profiling company KS Profiel.
Currently more than 130 Dutch companies are working in Ethiopia mainly in the horticulture sector and it turns out that many more are looking into getting involved in the agri, manufacturing and construction sectors in Ethiopia.
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