The need to enhance national, international competitiveness

 

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Organizing national, continental and international trade fair events are matchless in bringing manufacturers and traders from Ethiopia and abroad together to initiate business linkages.

To this effect, the underway 18th Addis Chamber International Trade Fair (ACITF) which was organized by Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations(AACCSA) created a vital platform for Ethiopian and foreign companies to share experiences, and create linkages.

Officially opening the trade fair at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Centre, Trade Minister Kebede Chanie said that Ethiopia is currently in the process of acceding to the World Trade Organization(WTO). He added that Ethiopia’s accession into COMESA free Trade Area is on the verge of completion too.

The need for enhancing competitiveness is high on the agenda of private sectors and policy makers. This owes to the intensification of global competition in all fields of the economy. Less competitive firms in developing countries are forced to face competition from most efficient and competitive firms from all corners of the world . Since protective measures do not take us too long , the only way out is to focus on those elements that determine competitiveness of our firms at micro and macro levels, the minster added.

Kebede further said that Ethiopia is committed to support companies’ endeavours to enhance their competitive positions through improving the business climate and eliminating policy and regulatory bottlenecks that adds cost of doing business to the private sector. The government has institutionalized Public Private Consultative Forums to engage the private sector with constructive consultation to address challenges facing business and investment in the country.

Since its inception three years ago, the Ethiopian public private consultative fora has identified and addressed a number of regulatory issues to improve the business climate in the country. These fora will continue to serve similar purposes in the years to come, according to the minister.

“For those sectors that Ethiopia developed competitive industries, the accession to the COMESSA Free Trade Area will start from 2014 while four additional years will be given to less competitive sectors to prepare themselves for competition. The year 2018 and beyond will show Ethiopia’s full accession to the regional economic Free Trade Area,” Kebede said.

The Minister indicated that this signifies Ethiopia’s commitment for Africa Economic Integration in its diplomatic and political sense. Nevertheless, it is also an alarm for the Ethiopian private sector, particularly those in the manufacturing industry that opening up for regional and international competition is inevitable. “ The COMESA Free Trade Area provides a very good learning ground for our industries, since it exposes them to international competition step by step,” Kebede added.

The Minister also called upon local companies to give due attention to enhancing their competitiveness at national regional and international levels.

AACCSA President Elias Geneti on his part said that AACCSA has been undertaking various business promotional activities to promote trade and investment in Ethiopia.

According to the president the international trade fair is one among the most notable business promotional activities that have been adding so much value for the business community in terms of promoting their products and services, establishing business linkages with trading partners and sharing experiences and know hows with international and local companies among others.

Elias further said several foreign manufactures that have participated in ACITF events have met Ethiopian business partners with whom they established lasting business relations. Ethiopian products have found buyers for their products from foreign participants by making use of the opportunities created by the international trad fairs.

“ I do have a firm belief that the 18th edition of ACITF would serve similar purpose in enhancing the synergy between trade and industry and of course, benefit all participants and the visiting public one way or another, ” he said.

ACITF is the leading and well organized brand in Ethiopia’s promotion industry. This largely owes to the unreserved support from stakeholders organizations, and above all the loyal customers that have placed their trust on the chamber.

ACITF which was started a decade and half ago now reached its 18th edition with outstanding achievements in all sorts of indicators; growing number of participant companies, ever increasing interests by foreign companies to attend the events, the promotional and business networking benefits gained by participating companies and much more.

Encouraged by these results, the chamber has extended its interventions in organizing specialized fair that focuses on Agriculture and Agribusiness( AGRIFEX) which will be held in June for the 7th time and the four Tour and Tourism Fair in April for the Third round.

In addition to these Three Fairs, the president announced the introduction of additional new General Trade Fair called Addis Chamber Meskerem International Trade Fair (ACMITF), which will be held in September,2014.

Elias indicated that the development objectives of developing country like Ethiopia is building strong industrialized economy that can help transforming lives of their citizens. Attaining sustained economic development through building strong industrialized economy is only possible when it is efficiently integrated with trade, both domestically and internationally.

AACCSA Secretary General Getachew Regassa on his part said that the International Trade Fair that takes “ Trade and Industry for Sustainable Development” as its motto, is accompanied by a symposium organized as a side events.

ACITF has been the leading and most attended trade and investment promotional event in the country, according to Gashaw. As a leading membership based organizations in Ethiopia, its contribution to prompting trade and investment in the country is commendable.

The trade fairs have had far reaching impacts on the country’s business by introducing thousands of foreign companies to Ethiopian markets as suppliers of goods and services. The past editions of ACITFs were also one of the gateways for foreign companies that have engaged in various investment projects across the country.

Encouraged with these positive outcomes,AACCSA has extended its endeavours to enhance the number of annual events from just one a few years ago to four regular fairs per annum. Out of these, two are specialized fairs and the other two are general events that attract hundreds of participants from Ethiopia and many countries around the world.

AACCSA had also made notable strides to enhance the quality of of the events from time to time. In a view of this, “We have made positive changes in the 18th edition of ACITF by procuring new carpets to cover the ground at the exposition pavilions and new partitions to improve convenience to our most valued participants.” The next edition of the event shall be furnished by brand new rubber halls to transform AACCSA’s promotional events to the highest professional standards.

The 18th ACITF organized by AACCSA has been opened free from February 20- 26, 2014.

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