by Tesfa Mogese
Ethiopian Investment Commission announced that it issued investment licenses for both domestic and foreign projects collectively registered to the value of more than $2 billion in 2014.
Agency Spokesperson Getahun Negash said that a total of 483 projects took licenses of which 363 projects are owned by foreign nationals who came from some 53 countries around the world.
“An aggregate of $2.2 billion worth 483 projects were licensed and provided with leased investable land in the country’s nine regional states,” he said.
According to him, the country has given more emphasis for the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to fill loophole in foreign currency gaps with supplementary merit for job creation, knowhow and technology transfer on minds of Ethiopian working forces.
“We managed to expand FDI which would help us transform our economy along with backing domestic investors,” Getahun Negash said.
He said that the agency has been trying to make it easy for foreign investors by quickly responding to their request for land, basic infrastructures, providing them with vital information and incentives.
Getahun said that half of licensed projects are keen to invest in manufacturing and agriculture sectors which the country provides them with incentives. “Incentives including tax exemption made for 234 investors so far,” he said.
Though there was a plan in parts of the agency to push foreign and domestic investors having $1.4billion worth 300 projects to embark on operation he said that only a $1 billion worth 215 projects (71%) of set target started production and rendering service.
Getahun said that number of projects and their volume of capital that started actual production in 2014 declined by 4.9 percent and up by 11.2 percent respectively compared to the previous year when $0.8 billion worth 226 projects went operational.
He said that out of 215 projects that started operation, 24 projects are already exporting products overseas.
In the first Ethiopian Growth and Transformation Plan (GTPI), a five year economic plan which ended this past June, the country was able to attract 3522 foreign investors having a registered capital of $3.7 billion exceeding the set target by 194 investors.
Ethiopia which formed a new government after the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) swept up all parliamentary seats in May election crafted a soon-to-be approved ambitious second five year plan (GTPII), which the authorities say will help move on track the much-admired fast economic growth.