REPORT - 9th ETHIO-CHAMBER INTERNATIONAL TRADE EXPO
The Embassy of the Republic of Fiji participated in the 9th Ethio-Chamber International Trade Expo at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Center & Market Development Enterprise, Meskel Square, Addis Ababa, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from 10 to 14 November, 2016.
The Trade Expo was organised by the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (ECCSA). The overall objective is to contribute to the development of competitive industry and business sector mainly through the promotion of products and services.
The Trade Expo brought together large member of manufacturers, importers, exporters, local and foreign companies supplying raw materials and technological inputs to local manufacturer, service enterprises and prospective.
The Trade Expo was attended by 166 organisations about 55 of which were represented by international organisations including the Embassy of the Republic of Fiji. It was a good opportunity to introduce the Embassy of the Republic of Fiji to the business communities in Addis Ababa and to create business linkage and forge partnership with potential investors.
The objective of the Embassy of the Republic of Fiji’s participation was to introduce itself to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia’s business sector, to showcase Fiji made products and to forge business links and partnerships with potential investors.
The Embassy of the Republic of Fiji’s display booth was well decorated with masi, ibe kuta, iris, waus, ulas, miniature tanoas with a video display showing the picturesque sights and beautiful sounds of Fiji surrounded by sandy beaches, blue turquoise clear waters, cascading waterfalls, long winding white water rivers and natural dark thick forests.
The Republic of Fiji made items on display were limited to products available to the Republic of Fiji Embassy such as Pure Fiji Spa products, Fiji Water, Aqua water, Island Chill, Fiji Gold Beer, Fiji Bitter, Bounty Over-proof Rum, Noni and assorted tourism industry brochures. Decision was earlier made to sell all the items on display but it was changed after realising that the stock of items with the Embassy of the Republic of Fiji was limited in numbers and they may all be sold off without any items to display at the Embassy of the Republic of Fiji. The interests generated over the Fiji made products were immense with the potential to secure local distributors.
The Embassy of the Republic of Fiji’s display booth was a major hit and quite popular with the visitors to the Exhibition Center and business people alike. General queries were received on the country’s geographical location, total number of population, languages and population composition. Investment opportunities were introduced to stakeholders and prospective investors and it was also a chance to introduce some of the country’s made products in a city that has about 10 million residents and country that has a population of 90 million people.
Despite the limited Fiji made products on display, potentials investors were interested to learn and understand the investment opportunities in Fiji and the process of linking up with Fijian businesses. Follow up meetings will be conducted with these potentials investors to determine their business interests and to match them with the relevant business sectors in Fiji who have the necessary products and services.
The Fiji Embassy booth received no assistance from the relevant agencies in Fiji to successfully market a wide variety of Fijian made products. Communications sent through the relevant Bureau at the Headquarter of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received very little support. Strong linkages between the headquarters and the relevant stakeholders need to be established and maintained for the Fiji Embassy in Addis Ababa Fiji to utilise trade shows to showcase Fiji made products. The Republic of Fiji has got a lot to gain from the Ethiopian market in terms of the volume of trade. Much effort will be needed from the Fijian suppliers in terms of the consistency of supply.
Depending on the interests generated from potential investors, a trade delegation tour to Fiji may need to be organised with the assistance of the desk officers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters in Suva and the Ministry of Trade and Commerce.
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia's economy is based on agriculture. Coffee is a major export crop. Other agricultural commodities include cereals, oilseed, cotton, sugarcane, vegetables, khat, cut flowers, hides, cattle, sheep, goats and fish. The government is pushing to diversify into manufacturing, textiles, and energy generation.
The banking, insurance, telecommunications, and micro-credit industries are restricted to domestic investors, but Ethiopia has attracted significant foreign investment in textiles, leather, commercial agriculture, and manufacturing.
The Republic of Fiji may wish to promote and explore investments in textiles and commercial agriculture.