Sri Lanka Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in collaboration with the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) hosted a business forum on 19 November 2019 at Kings Hotel, Addis Ababa for Sri Lankan companies attending the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) 2019. Representatives from Nestle Lanka PLC, Wilkins Spence Packaging Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., the Tea & Hearb Co. (Pvt). Ltd and Synex Group of companies from Sri Lanka participated at the forum.
The business forum was presided by the President of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations, Melaku Ezeze, and Ambassador-designate of Sri Lanka to Ethiopia Sugeeshwara Gunaratna.
Speaking on the occasion, the President of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations outlined the Ethiopian Government’s strategy to attract foreign direct investments as well as enhance trade links between Ethiopia and other countries. In this regard, he noted that Ethiopia would stand to benefit from the expertise of Sri Lankan companies and the goods and services they supply.
Addressing the gathering, Ambassador-designate Sugeeshwara Gunaratna stated that since 2014 bilateral trade between Ethiopia and Sri Lanka had multiplied by almost 5 times and Sri Lankan companies continue to show an interest in enhancing trade and investment links with African markets, particularly Ethiopia. He further stated that Sri Lanka was the first country in South Asia to liberalize its economy and as a result Sri Lankan companies have acquired a level of skill and sophistication that enabled them to forge mutually rewarding synergies and encouraged Ethiopian companies to make use of the opportunity.
A presentation on opportunities available in the Ethiopian market was made by Benyam Mesgina Ezra, Director, Investment Promotion Directorate of Ethiopia and the Sri Lankan business representatives spoke on their company profiles and priority areas prior to holding one to one discussions with Ethiopian counterparts.
The WEDF is the International Trade Centre’s flagship event and takes place during ‘Africa Industrialization Week’ at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 18-22 November, 2019 bringing together over 1000 business leaders, policy makers and trade development officials.