Opening Session

Director General Li Yong with high-level dignitaries after Opening Session of First International Agro-Industry Investment Forum in Addis Ababa
Director General Li Yong with high-level dignitaries after Opening Session of First International Agro-Industry Investment Forum in Addis Ababa

Statements

Mr. NEGATU Gabriel

East Africa Regional Director
African Development Bank

The creation of agro-industrial parks is a key instrument for transforming Africa’s agricultural sector and the overall economic transformation on the continent. This ambitious objective demands mobilization of significant resources, both domestic and external, public and private. The bank is happy to note that the Government of Ethiopia continuous to demonstrate strong ownership and commitment to investing its own public resources to the Integrated Agro-Industry Park initiative and calls on development partners and private sector to wholeheartedly support this noble approach. The Bank, more than any other institution understands that finance matters. That it is the catalyst for growth. Therefore, the AfDB will support the establishment of private sector-led innovative financing and risk sharing instruments which hold great promise to mobilize and crowd-in private capital for investment in initiatives such as agro-industrial parks.

In the coming years we will dedicate significant human and financial resources to strengthen key agro-industrial corridors, to improve the business climate for the development of the private sector, and for the progress of key industries such as agro-processing, leather and leather made products. In particular, our contribution will involve the support to the Ethiopian strategy of rural industrialization, job creation and agricultural modernization though the development of agro-industrial parks. Italy strongly believes that this initiative will indeed contribute to the desired structural transformation of the economy.

Mr. DOENS Koen 

Director for Development Coordination for East and Southern Africa, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development
European Commission

The initiative we see today on the agro-industrial parks is an ambitious step to the next level. And rightly so. They are the expression of a forward looking political vision to achieve sustainable investment and value addition for the benefit of a nation, its young people and vulnerable groups, I believe these parks are well-placed to achieve many objectives at once. They can contribute to economic growth of Ethiopia by enhancing value addition, increased exports, and import substitution. They can create jobs by increasing agricultural production in rural areas and introducing semi-urban poles. They can attract substantial foreign investment, including from EU companies, if conditions are right and, ultimately, the parks have the potential to reduce poverty and food insecurity further and improve the lives of many.

In Ghana, in Cote d'Ivoire and many other African countries, they have not married the discussion of industrialization with the discussion of agriculture. These are not two separate discussions. This is the same discussion, because agro-processing and value addition is one of our entry points into real transformation of our economic structure. It is happening here in Ethiopia.

Keynote speech

With foreign direct investment flows to the country amounting to over USD 2 billion in 2015 alone, Ethiopia is becoming a hot spot for investors, especially in textiles and garments. […]The Programme for Country Partnership model shows that the development objectives of the Government and the business objectives of the private sector can be aligned in such a way as to accelerate development for countries while creating economic returns for companies.

Keynote and official opening address

With our Government’s unreserved commitment and strategic leadership, we are to build-on our global competitive advantages in agriculture-based light manufacturing to realize our vision of becoming Africa’s light manufacturing hub by 2025.

MASTER OF CEREMONY

Ladies and Gentlemen! We have two busy days ahead of us but for all the good reasons. All participants, especially those coming from foreign countries, will have an opportunity to get insight on how one of the most promising, emerging economies in the African continent - Ethiopia is laying the ground to "unleash its investment potential" in an area where it has visible comparative advantage - the Agro-Industry Sector.