Japanese technology, investment to speed up growth in Ethiopia
Cham Ugala Uriat, Ethiopia’s new Ambassador to Japan, who officially assumed his position in April, wants to attract Japanese companies and introduce Japanese technology and investment projects into Ethiopia as it would not only speed up its growth but could also serve as a gateway to Africa
The ambassador believes that Japanese technology will speed up Ethiopia’s growth, and with investment projects in sectors such as the textile industry, will help Ethiopia become the region’s textile hub by 2025.
Drawing on Japan’s experience, and with its assistance, many Ethiopian firms has introduced kaizen (improvement) philosophy, which has helped reduce production costs and “makes workers more disciplined.
He acknowledged the high technological achievements of Japanese firms, and noted that mid-size companies that entered markets in Asia and the Middle East years ago would also be a good fit for Ethiopia’s economic environment. He sees the strengthening of bilateral ties as an opportunity for both nations, in sectors including agricultural processing and pharmaceuticals.
But the ambassador, who before his latest appointment supervised diplomatic missions abroad while at the Foreign Affairs Ministry from 2011 until January of this year, believes his biggest challenge will be to convince Japanese firms to invest in his country.
The ambassador explained that over the past 13 years Ethiopia has seen 11.5 percent GDP growth and is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa and around the world. The ambassador hopes the opening of the government-led Japan External Trade Organization office in the capital, Addis Ababa, will bolster bilateral trade relations. The ambassador added that bilateral dialogue has already resulted in some projects aimed to introduce Japan’s technology to the country.
The sixth Tokyo-led Africa development summit, held since 1993 and to be hosted by Nairobi in late August 2016, will provide hope for continued support from Japan.