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EUBFE held its 1st Anniversary

EUBFE held its 1st Anniversary

Posted in Events

Cut 1stAnniv3As you all know, the EUBFE held its 1-Year Anniversary ceremony last week (29th May) at the Radisson Blu, Addis Ababa. The event welcomed more than 150 participants and included a presentation by high level government officials (H.E. State Minister, Ministry of Industry, Tadesse Hailewho highlighted the need to scale up EU investment to Ethiopia, Ato Kaidaki Acting Director General of ERCA who emphasised the fruitful dialogue that took place between the EUBFE and ERCA, as well as H.E. Ambassador Grum from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who paid a personal tribute to Xavier Marchal).

Indeed, this event was also the opportunity to honor the memory of H.E. Xavier Marchal, Head of EU Delegation to Ethiopia, who passed away just a few days before the Conference. As many of you know, Xavier followed the activities of the EUBFE over the last year with great personal interest and involvement, and undoubtedly was one of the main motors of the Forum. The event was thus also used as an opportunity to pay tribute to the personal efforts of Xavier Marchal to make the EUBFE a reality.

We also reviewed the activities performed by the EUBFE within the past year and expectations for the year to come, as well as offered a networking opportunity for the EU business community. At the meeting it was highlighted that over the last twelve months, the EUBFE has developed itself, despite relatively limited means, into a well-respected platform both among government circles and the business communities that is increasingly able to strongly advocate for the removal of the sharpest edges of the government's laws and regulations. The EUBFE is also seen as an increasingly important and valued facility to help existing and potential EU investors do business in Ethiopia.

Over the past 12 months around 15 meetings and presentations were organized, most of them in collaboration with the EU Delegation. Taxes and customs being key issues affecting the current business climate, ERCA was the center of the attention with 4 meetings on (amongst others) the new customs proclamation and on dividends tax. The EUBFE prepared a detailed comment paper on the new customs law. Some of the issues raised in the paper have found their way in the final version of the proclamation. In order to advocate its members’ rights, EUBFE also worked with the Ministry of Transport on addressing the concerns of the sudden implementation of the multimodal transport directive which mid last year seriously disrupted import and export from Djibouti Port. The EUBFE managed to advocate for a series of exceptions and ensured a focal point in the Ministry of Transport for members who encountered specific problems. The Prime Minister expressed its appreciation for the EU Business Forum and its ability to make around 300 EU companies speak with one voice during his meeting with President of the European Commission Barosso as well as on the occasion of the October 2012 meeting with foreign investors on the business climate. He has also been solicited by the EUBFE at the height of the foreign currency shortage beginning of this year. On the latter issue the EUBFE, together with the EU Delegation, held also talks with the Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, the President of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and the Minister of Industry. The EUBFE further provided its inputs to the Ministry of Industry in its endeavour to carve out an industrial road map for the country. The Ministry of Industry– together with the Ethiopian Investment Agency – also organised several consultation meetings on the new investment proclamation and the new investment regulations (in force since end 2012) for EUBFE members. Concurrently, the development of a website and a newsletter allowed a better visibility of the EU community issues and EUBFE’s actions. The association is also currently working on further financing (BizClim facility) to bring experts on board to substantiate its work and improve local business climate.

Further events and activities will be organized in the coming months, with a focus on continuing the structured dialogue with the Government of Ethiopia (including MoT, ERCA, EIA, MoI,…). Towards the second half July we have agreed with ERCA to organise a consultation in the EU Delegation – jointly with the major other foreign business fora – on the draft tax proclamation, while we are also currently working with the Ethiopian Investment Agency on a consultation on the investment proclamation that is (again) being redrafted. We will keep you informed on these and otherupcoming events. As we did in the past, we shall also react to relevantburning business climate issues as they come along and we encourage you in this regard to continue sharing with us what are the obstacles in the development of your business in Ethiopia.

You can find the Secretary's detailed presentation on the first year's activities of the EUBFE in the download part of our website (http://www.eubfe.eu/index.php/downloads). You'll find some of the excellent press coverage of the event (both on television and in the newspapers) also on the website.

Also to note that during the cocktail, some of our members had the opportunity to showcase their services and products to the visitors. We would like to thank them again for their support in the organization of the event and taking the time to set up the booths. We intend to repeat a similar exhibition next year and hope that even more of you will be able to demonstrate the richness and diversity of EU investment in Ethiopia.

The Secretary

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