Biruk Taye, 28, came to inTexpo, an exhibition of Indian textiles at the Sheraton Addis Hotel, in the Lalibela Ball Room, on Wednesday, August 13, 2014, with the expectation to find new partners, who will work with agents in Ethiopia.
The exhibition is the first of its kind in Ethiopia for the Indian textile industry. It is organised by the Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC) and Exposition UK LTD, in association with the Embassy of India and support from the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations (ECCSA).
The opening ceremony took place on Wednesday, August 13, 2014. It was attended by Gashaw Debebe, secretary general of ECCSA, Utpal Aich, first secretary of the Embassy of India, and 20 delegates from participant companies.
The 20 Indian exhibitors filled the hall, occupying the whole ball room, for which they paid 6,000 dollars each.
The organisers of the event worked together with Ethio Ushering & Organizers, an Ethiopian co-organiser; all the 20 participants of the event came from India, according to Sandeep Grover, managing director of Exposition UK.
In the years from 1992 to 2012, a total of 365 Indian firms have taken investment licenses for different projects with a total capital of 43 billion Br in Ethiopia creating a total trade turnover of 1.3 billion dollars between the two countries in 2013 alone, said Gashaw.
There are 140 textile factories in Ethiopia; seven of these are Indian companies, with a capital of 12 billion Br, according to the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI).
Biruk was trying to become an agent for Yogindera Worsted Limited, one of the companies at the exhibition. The Company was displaying different threads, which its representatives were excitedly showing and explaining to Biruk.
Biruk managed to convince the company to give him one acrylic, one polyester and one yarn roll thread, each costing three dollars, which Biruk wanted to show to potential bulk buyers. The Company, based in Ludhiana, Punjab, India, was founded in 1997 with a capital of 52 million Br.
"At least, if I find a firm that can work with me, I can have a two percent commission for every single item I sell," said Biruk, holding the three sample threads, as he left the hall to find buyers, which he would have to report back to Yogindera by the afternoon.
Other exhibitors were displaying a varied range of products including shirts, suits, fabrics, yarns and embroidery products.
Kalkidan Hayelom, a fashion designer, came to the Expo to check for materials on display. With designers relying on imported materials, she says the Expo was an opportunity to see if there was anything new.
Currently, India's synthetic and rayon textile export is nearly 4.6 billion dollars. The Middle East and the Gulf, Asia and the European Union account for 25pc, 23pc and 22pc of the total export, respectively. India's total synthetic and rayon output is around 21 million square metres, according to the expo brochure.
The exhibition moved from Sudan where it also had a two-day show from August 10 - 11, 2014, following a three month preparation, according to SRTEPC's joint director.
"There is good opportunity in the exhibition. Here they are telling us the prices of their products. A three metre rolled viscose Embroidery is sold for 50 dollars and Silk for 70 dollars. This price is not much different from the price in Dubai that I have been importing, but when the transportation is considered it is much better," said Said Idris, owner of A.Y.H General Trading.
India's 2013 export of textile and clothing products was 40 billion dollars, which the country plans to double to 80 billion dollars by 2020. In 2013, it lags far behind China's 274 billion dollars.
For Biruk, business may have worked out as he says he managed to find buyers for the Indian company's products, although he declined to name any. Some of the Indian companies, too, such as Balavigna, are even considering the possibility of setting up a plant in Ethiopia, according to First Secretary Aich.