(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Government to boost private sector

The Ethiopian government has committed itself to boosting the private sector in the country and has acknowledged that investment in the country is low.

In a statement, the government said that “intensive efforts” had been launched to promote investment opportunities in the country.

The statement, released by the ministry of information, added that some 300,000 permanent jobs had been created through countrywide investment projects.

“However, given the conducive environment, and huge untapped natural resources of the country, the flow of investment seen so far could be rated as quite low," it said.

“At present there are many foreign and domestic private entrepreneurs who have shown great interest to embark on various investment activities,” it added.

The announcement comes as the Ethiopian Investment Authority (EIA) said it was aiming to ease opportunities for foreign investors in the country.

Among key sectors that foreigners can invest in is the country’s fledgling tourism industry.

The EIA has also slashed the level of finance needed by a company to invest in Ethiopia from US $500,000 to US $100,000.

The information ministry statement also said there had been a marked shift from state ownership to private businesses.

But critics argue that many recently privatised businesses are controlled by companies affiliated to the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

And massive hurdles still remain. Fewer than 35 companies have invested in Ethiopia today and almost 90 percent are in Addis Ababa or Bahar Dar. Foreign businessmen are still unable to invest in the country’s banking or insurance sector.

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