The Addis Abeba Exhibition & Marketing Development Centre will be no less busy this month, seeing the fifth edition of the National Exhibition, Bazaar and Symposium. Having opened last Friday, the event was attended by the President and senior ministers. Last year's exhibition was attended by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
This one - dubbed "Cooperative Marketing, for Fairness" - was inaugurated by President Mulatu Teshome (PhD), conversing here with Usman Surur, director-general of the Federal Cooperative Agency, which under a new strategy may grow into a ministry. He sat to the right of Eyasu Abrha (PhD), minister of Agriculture & Natural Resources.
In his opening speech, the President told cooperatives that they "must play their part in realising a market that is fair both to consumers and businesses," soon after reminding them that their primary goal should be lessening supply-constraint by reducing imports and improving exports.
The President then took a tour of the unions that came to showcase their products. They make up for a fraction of the total 20 billion Br capital, and close to 17 million members, cooperatives across the country boost despite the reduced credit they have been privy to this past couple of years.
With the first such union being the Ethiopian Airlines Workers Saving & Credit Cooperative, formed well over half a century ago, cooperatives, some of which will continue to display their products until the coming Wednesday at the exhibition centre, supply around 90pc of all the fertilisers used in the country.