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News & Events

3rd Thematic Cocktail

Posted in Events

On March 10th, 2016, the EUBFE organised its 3rd thematic cocktail. Ato Nebiyou Samuel, Head of the Director General's Office at the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) presented the Authorized Economic Operators program and the Electronic Single Window System. The presentation was followed by a lively Q&A and a networking cocktail.

Awex - Belgium Delegation in Addis Ababa

Posted in Events

Mid-January, a delegation of Belgian companies from Wallonia, came to Ethiopia for a series of B2B events  and meetings with high-ranking officials to discover the business opportunities offered by the Ethiopian market.
 
EUBFE representatives were present at the Embassy of Belgium during a cocktail to welcome the delegation and then for a roundtable meeting to provide its view of the Country, development and challenges, alongside the EU Delegation, the IMF and local businessmen. 

Joint EU investment mission to Ethiopia

Posted in Events

The East Africa Association – in close collaboration with the EU Delegation to Ethiopia and the EU Business Forum to Ethiopia – organised on 13 and 14 March the first ever EU Joint Investment Mission to Ethiopia. Over 40 companies in a wide range of sectors visited Addis Ababa over the course of two days toexplore business opportunities in the country. 
 
Presentations were made to the mission by – amongst others – the State Minister of Industry, the Director General of the Ethiopian Investment Agency, the resident representative of the IMF as well as the economists from the World Bank and the EU. 
 
The mission also visited the Bole Lemin Industrial Zone, accompanied by EU Ambassador Chantal Hebberecht and enjoyed a lunch with around 10 EUBFE members to exchange on doing business in Ethiopia. With several companies planning a follow-up visit in the coming weeks and days, it seems quite ikely that EUBFE can soon welcome some new members.

Welcoming the Finnish Prime Minister's Delegation

Posted in Events

A delegation of 21 Finnish companies, headed by the Finnish Prime Minister, H.E. Jyrki Katainen and supported by FinPro (the foreign trade support of Finland) came to Ethiopia late January 2014 to follow-up or assess investment and trade opportunities in the Country. 
 
The companies operated in various sector, with a focus on energy and infrastructure (ELTEL, EMPOER OY, ENSTO FINLAND OY) and agriculture and land management (ARBONAUT OY, GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF FINLAND, JPT-INDUSTRIA OY).
 
12 EUBFE members participated in the lunch held on January 27, 2014 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, in order  to exchange with their Finnish counterparts. Following an introductory speech by Mr Chris de Muynck, EUBFE Chairman and Mrs Barbara Plinkert, EU Delegation Chargé d’Affaires, the Finnish Prime Minister discussed opportunities and challenges facing EU companies doing business in Ethiopia.
 
The visit of the Finnish delegation continued the following day with a large workshop at the Sheraton Hotel, with the participation of H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia Prime Minister, and various high ranking officials from the Ethiopian public and private sectors.

Launch of the Business Climate Improvement facility

Posted in Events

Since the start of 2014 the EUBFE is the beneficiary of an EU support program entitled the BizClim Facility (see for more info: www.acpbusinessclimate.org). The objectives of BizClim are to promote improvements of the business climate in the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) countries. In the case of EUBFE, the financing is coming in the form of two teams combining foreign and local experts who will support the EUBFE in carrying out analytical work and the organisation of several events.
 
The first team of experts is working currently on an EU investment Survey, under which you may have been contacted already. The project subsequently aims to develop an EU investors' profile, by performing a review of the EU investments in Ethiopia, collect issues and feedback on doing business in Ethiopia and assess the key regulatory issues that are impeding businesses locally. Results of the Survey and the Assessments will be discussed in Round Tables and presented at the EUBFE Conference on the 10 June.
 
The EUBFE's Second Year Anniversary Conference and EXHIBITION will be organised on 2 october 2014.
PLEASE NOTE THE DATE IN YOUR DIARY! (see more details on the schedule of events on the last page
of this Newsletter)
 
HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD, JOIN THE EUBFE: a membership application form is attached to this Newsletter. 

Ambassador Hebberecht - New head of the EU Delegation

Posted in Events


The EUBFE would like to welcome H.E. Ambassador Chantal Hebberecht, the new Head of Delegation to Ethiopia and look forward continuing the fruitful cooperation with the EU. 
 
H.E. Chantal Hebberecht has a background in agricultural engineering from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and started her career in this University as an International Expert in the field of development cooperation, agriculture and rural development, farmers associations, environmental protection and banking sector.
 
She held several positions within the European Commission for Food Aid and Food Security (1998 – 2005), before heading the African Union and African Peace Facility Unit (2005-2009). Prior to her arrival in Ethiopia, she was Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic in Central Asia.
 
Please join us to wish her the best of luck and success in her new role as the Head of Delegation to Ethiopia!

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

Successful Launch Of The EUBFE

Posted in Events

Successful-Launch-Of-The-Eubfe---7th-May-2012After a one-year gestation period, the European Union Business Forum in Ethiopia (EUBFE) was formally launched on May 7th, 2012, in the presence of more than 100 European companies operating in Ethiopia, representatives of numerous diplomatic representations as well as high-level staff from the Ethiopian Revenue & Customs Authority (ERCA) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The EUBFE was set-up in response to the need for both a platform for networking and information exchange between EU businesses and a systematic dialogue with the Ethiopian authorities. The EUBFE operated under the umbrella of the EU Delegation to Ethiopia.

Technical Committee

Posted in Dialogue

The Technical Committee, with representation from relevant Ministries and Agencies of the Ethiopian Government, the EU Delegation, EU member states and the EUBFE establishes a dedicated forum for technical discussions on agreed upon issues. The goal of the Technical Committee is to identify and discuss regulations and other current procedures that create unnecessary constraints for investors, while formulating practical actions to address them.

The decision to set up a Technical Committee came from a meeting between the EU Delegation and Deputy Prime Minister Debretsion held on August 26, 2014. The idea behind this decision was to try and address some of the key concerns expressed by EU investors in the survey of 80 members of the EUBFE conducted between April and June 2014.

The latest Technical Committee was held on January 22nd, 2016 and was chaired by Commissioner Fitsum Arega from the Ethiopian Investment Commission.

Dialogue with H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopian Prime Minister

Posted in Dialogue

DIALOGUE-WITH-H.E.-HAILEMARIAM-DESALEGN-ETHIOPIAN-PRIME-MINISTER---24TH-OCTOBER-2012Minister of Industry, Mr. Mekonnen Manyazewal, invited foreign and local investors to discuss how to improve investment climate in the country in three specific sectors: agricultural, manufacturing and mining. While local investors met on the morning of October 24th, 2012, foreign investors were invited to the meeting held in the afternoon, in a session personally chaired by the Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn. Present were representatives of the international business communities operating in Ethiopia: Europeans, via the EUBFE and the EU Delegation headed by Ambassador Xavier Marchal, Chinese, Turkish, Indian and Korean business communities.

Comprehensive immigration directives for foreign investors

Posted in Advocacy

In March 2016, the EU Delegation to Ethiopia and the EUBFE sent a joint letter to H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, regarding concerns expressed by EUBFE members in obtaining appropriate immigration documents in order to be able to operate effectively in Ethiopia.

The EU business community is committed to support the effective implementation of the Ethiopian GTP II notably with regards to job creation, increased FDI, skills and technology transfers and improved linkages between foreign and domestic business communities. In order to do so, an immigration policy that is conducive to the effective operation of the foreign business community is necessary.

In this context, and in a spirit of dialogue and partnership, the EU business community would welcome more transparency on the matter at hand with a view to bolster EU investments in support of GTP II objectives.

Weight limit on containers imposed by the Maritime Affairs Authority - A happy End

Posted in Advocacy

In close cooperation with the ENLBA (The Ethiopia-Netherlands Business Association), the EU Delegation and the EUBFE, sent a letter to the Ethiopian Authorities to explain the difficulties encountered by the EU business community due to suddenly imposed weight limit on containers as instructed by the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport – Maritime Affairs Authority and the negative impact of this new provision on the
economy. 
 
The “temporary work rule”, passed on August 12 th, 2013, determined the weight of imported goods in a single container to a maximum of 20 tonnes for 20-foot container. This led to a sudden increase in cost of transportation and consequently an increase in cost of imported raw materials, between 5-30%. 
 
Following the letter issued by EU Delegation and the EU Business Forum, and subsequent informal consultations held with the Ministry of Transport, the Government of Ethiopia eventually decided to lift the weight limit.

Comments on the revised customs law

Posted in Advocacy

On October 28th, 2013, the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) organised a meeting to gather  ERCA management and some key  foreign business communities, including EUBFE supported by the EU Delegation, to discuss the general customs operations and the draft Revised Customs Law. Following the meeting, EUBFE was invited to query its members and come back with structured and practical comments to the draft that would be used by ERCA to improve its drafting.
 
Thanks to your prompt feedback, we prepared and sent detailed and practical comments on the draft law. 
 
To sum up: we support the positive amendments brought by the new draft, such as self-assessment procedure and post transaction audit, electronic filing, administrative fines of some infractions (vs. automatic criminal penalties), early release of goods, training as well as the simplified customs procedures. 
 
However, from your experiences, constructive comments were made on the definitions within the law, the online publication of the regulations, the insertion of principle of non-retroactivity, the operations and handling of containers, spare parts imports, goods release, the Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs), the appeal and complaints handling, HS codes and tax rates, the valuation, or even the electronic filing.
 
We hope these will be taken into consideration by ERCA. We will follow up on this on the occasion of the next meeting with ERCA

Licensing issues: Discussions with H.E. The Deputy Prime Minister

Posted in Advocacy

The EUBFE, together with the EU Delegation, expressed in a letter dated November 26th, 2013, some of its concerns regarding the unexpected difficulties and obstacles many of our membersencountered last year in renewing their business registration and licensing and asked for a meeting to discuss these concerns.
 
As a follow up to the letter, on December 23 rd, the EU Ambassador – H.E. Ms Chantal Hebberecht - met the Deputy Prime Minister, H.E.Debretsion Gebremichael. The Deputy Prime Minister was very appreciative of the letter and the communication of concerns expressed by the EUBFE, as this helps the Government of Ethiopia to “provide better services”. It confirmed the general impression that often these types of issues and messages are not well-communicated upwards and that there is a real added value in organising a structured dialogue, opening a channel of communication between the EU businesses as a community and the highest levels of the Ethiopian administration. 
 
EU BUSINESS FORUM ETHIOPIA  MEMBERS NEWSLETTER – N.3 / MARCH 2014 
Amid various matters raised during the meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister confirmed the existence of a special window at the Ministry of Trade for the largest investors, which despite not being advertised, exists.He also offered assistance in looking into open cases for renewal of licenses for the EU business community
 
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