Off late, the Ethiopian Investment Agency (EIA) announced it would license investment projects that could create more than 55,000 jobs this Ethiopian budget year. So far the Agency has licensed 138 projects amounting to 12.6 billion birr over the last two months out of which projects worth 12.5 billion birr are run by foreign investors. Upon completion, the investment projects licensed over the last two months in industry, agriculture and construction sectors would create 75,000 jobs.
The investment opportunities in Ethiopia are immense. It is worth to note that the country possesses comparative advantages in terms of both its natural resources and its proximity to Middle Eastern and European markets. It also over 80 million potential consumers. There are huge tracts of land suitable for irrigation; and Africa's largest herds of livestock. Ethiopia's large labour force is both disciplined and trainable. There are considerable opportunities for mining resources such as gold, potash, copper, tantalum, marble and natural gas; as well as a variety of tourist attractions: historical sites, scenic beauty and wildlife.
The government opens larger areas of the economy to foreign investment. It also seeks to attract investors through incentives for priority export sectors. There are indeed a wide array of investment opportunities in Ethiopia for foreign investors. Foreign investors are viewed as partners in the economic development of the country. They are welcome to invest on their own as well as in joint ventures with domestic enterprises.
It is evident that the Agency's effort to attract foreign investors over the past two months are laudable. It is a step forward to meet its target to license investment projects worth 500 billion birr during the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) period. Meanwhile, the Agency further needs to facilitate enabling investment environment to attract more Foreign Direct Investment. Promoting the country's investment opportunities and conditions to foreign and domestic investors is critically important to make use of the country's investment potential and addressing the bottlenecks frequently encountering stakeholders. It is still imperative to adapt technology, capital and human resources to specific market niche and opportunity excising or to be developed a new.