15 January 2013

Ethiopia: Business Diplomacy Training Session for the Foreign Ministry

A half-day training session on business diplomacy took place Tuesday this week (January 15th) for Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff.

The training is part of the Ministry's effort to build up the capacity of diplomatic staff. Jointly organized by the Ministry's Directorate General of Americas Affairs and the Embassy of Canada in Addis Ababa, the session concentrated on Canada's experience in economic diplomacy, covering trade, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and technology transfer.

The Director General for Americas Affairs, Ambassador Taye Atskesilassie, pointed out that business diplomacy was now a virtual necessity for defining Ethiopia's relations with other countries; he underlined the need to develop the merged qualities of a good civil servant and of an effective business person. Ambassador David Usher of Canada said the training would be important in triggering awareness on contemporary economic diplomacy engagements, noting that international trade made up 40% of Canada's annual GDP, and that the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service had over 150 trade locations worldwide to carry out market intelligence, find trade and investment opportunities for Canadian companies and resolve problems.

The session for 25 participants from different Directorate Generals in the Ministry was given by Canada's Counselor and Regional Senior Trade Commissioner from Nairobi and members of the embassy here in Addis Ababa. It covered organizational structures; the importance of clearly defined aims; the need for business planning and for undertaking performance measurement, as well as trade and investment promotion, training and client service packages, and other related areas. It emphasized the value of providing basic services including preparation for international markets, market potential assessments, well qualified contacts and problem solving services. The value and importance of training packages was also discussed.

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