A four-day international agro-industry investment forum, which has attracted more than 3,000 participants, is underway here in Addis Ababa.
The forum organized by the government of Ethiopia and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) focuses on food processing, textiles and garment, leather and leather products, and allied sectors such as packaging and renewable energy.
Opening the forum yesterday, President Mulatu Teshome said the government is investing heavily to increase the productivity and the production level of agriculture and strengthen deeper linkages with agro-processing and value addition in various sectors.
At the center of the country agro-industry development endeavors is the development of zones and agro-food parks in strategic location across the nation, he said.
According to the President, "agro-industry parks are built in an integrated manner to address constraints related to land access, infrastructure, trade logistics, customs regulation and skills."
In this regard, he added that the government is taking proactive measures to expedite the establishment process of four pilot agro-industrial parks by allocating seed funds to support infrastructure development.
Industry Minister Ahmed Abtew on his part said his ministry has been striving long and hard to create competitive and attractive ecosystem for the implementation of comprehensive and inclusive industrial development strategy and road map that will lead the country to be a hub in 2025.
"To achieve this, the government is fast tracking industrial goal development. In just three to five years we have seen three states of the art textile industry clusters, which are already attracting internationally recognized manufacturers, in Hawassa, Mekele and Kombolacha", the Minister added.
According to him, the country is engaging in developing the agro-industrial sector by expanding the investment horizon in the first phase.
UNIDO Director-General, Li Young said Ethiopia is building for the future by opening investment in large-scale of development projects.
"UNIDO will take this opportunity to commend the Ethiopian government for its commitment to achieve GTP 2 and leading the country toward attaining a middle income country status by the year 2025", Young added.
Participants from the public and business sectors, including current and potential investors, international and domestic enterprises, industry associations, international organizations and financial institutions are taking part in the four days forum.