Polish manufacturing, construction and IT companies are looking for business partners in Ethiopia with the view of forging joint ventures.
Up on the invitation of the Ethiopian parliamentary group (Ethio-Polish parliamentary Group) Polish parliamentarians and business people visited Ethiopia this week. The delegation comprising two parliamentarians and six business people led by Killian Munyama (MP), chairman of the Ethio-Poland parliamentary group in the Polish parliament, met Ethiopian parliamentarians, senior government officials and members of the Ethiopian business community. The delegation also held meetings with officials of the African Union.
The Polish business delegation comprising of manufacturing, construction, coffee importer, IT and energy companies on Wednesday met Ethiopian businesses at Hilton Addis Ababa. Some 50 Ethiopian companies, who have shown keen interest to do business with Polish companies, held one-to-one meetings with the six polish companies representing more than sixty polish companies.
The business to business meeting was co-organized by the Polish Embassy in Addis Ababa and Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (ECCSA). In his welcoming remark secretary general of ECCSA, Gashaw Debebe, said that Ethiopia’s relations with the Republic of Poland are far more solid than ever before. “Though the economic linkages between the two countries has been improved in recent years, mainly due to the encouraging achievements of economic reforms in Ethiopia and the enhanced bilateral relations between them, the trade and investment relations between the two countries is still lagging behind compared to the unexploited opportunities existing in them.
According to Gashaw, the total turnover between the two countries was only 23 million dollars in 2013, signifying the fact that much work is still needed to further enhance their trade and investment ties through the unrelenting efforts of the governments and business communities of the two countries.
Munyama, head of the Polish delegation, told The Reporter that most of the Polish companies are looking for Ethiopian partners. “Their line of interest is to put up joint ventures because we want the local community to be involved. We want to create jobs. We want to have a mutual benefit. We are not only after trade. We are looking at cooperation,” Munyama said.
Munyama said the business forum enables the companies to find a common ground to push forward to the relationship.
With the view of boosting trade and investment relations with Africa the Government of Poland in 2013 launched a trade initiative dubbed “Go Africa”. The Go Africa program enabled Poland to boost trade volume with African countries by up to 150 percent. Polish export to Ethiopia increased by 106 percent in the last two years.
“We do believe that Ethiopia is one of the biggest markets in Africa we can be able to cooperate with,” Munyama said.
Polish companies are entering Ethiopian market. A prominent tractor factory, Ursus, is supplying tractors to the Ethiopian Metals and Engineering Corporation (MetEC). MetEC is assembling the tractors in Adama Tractor Assembling Factory. Ursus is delivering 3000 tractors to MetEC worth 90 million dollars. The company began exporting the first 1500 tractors last year at a cost of 50 million dollars. Ursus tractors assembling line in Adama Tractor Factory will be inaugurated in four weeks’ time.
One of the largest IT companies in Europe, Asseco Poland, has set its foot in Ethiopia. Asseco Poland is closely working with the Information Network Security Agency (INSA). Munyama said that Poland wants to maximize the trade and investment relationship with Ethiopia.
“We are aware of the fact that some Polish products have entered Ethiopia though other European countries we want to change the trend, we want to establish a direct trade link between the two countries” he said.
Polish Ambassador to Ethiopia, Jacek Jankowski, told The Reporter that there is an increasing interest from Polish companies to do business with their Ethiopian counterparts. Jankowski said that there is a great potential between the two countries. “After my arrival in Ethiopia in November 2012 I have seen that the relation is getting stronger and stronger both politically and economically,” he said.
However, the ambassador said the level of bilateral economic relation between the two countries does not meet his expectation. “I see a great room for improvement and for bringing our countries closer and closer.”
According to Jankowski, polish software companies are cooperating with INSA, polish sugar factories are working Ethiopian Sugar Corporation. The biggest Polish chemical factory, the second biggest chemical company in Europe, will come to Addis Ababa to hold talks with the Ethiopian Chemical Corporation, Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Transformation Agency. Executives of the company will discuss the possibility that they can supply fertilizer and chemicals to the Ethiopian market.
“More Polish companies are showing interest to do business with Ethiopia,” Jankowski told The Reporter. “Some in Poland thought that Ethiopia is not a good place to do business but this is now changing. Many Ethiopian companies have shown interest to establish contact with Polish companies. “It takes two to tango. We have Ethiopian business people and Polish business people who are both interested to do business, he added.
Jankowski also told The Reporter that at the end of this year the president of Poland is scheduled to visit Ethiopia.
Last year the Ambassador received an award from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs called “Friend of Economy” (Amigos Economy) for boosting trade relations between Poland and Ethiopia.
The Polish embassy is closely working with the Ethiopian Chamber of commerce and investment commission in strengthening trade and investment between the two countries.
Source: The Reporter Ethiopia