Among those attending were Dr. Tedros Adhanom, the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia and Mr. Grant Shapps MP, Minister of State, Department for International Development with a portfolio held jointly between the Foreign Office and DFID, as well as the Ambassador of Ethiopia to the UK, Ambassador Berhanu Kebede and the Ambassador of the UK to Ethiopia, Ambassador Greg Dorey.
The Ethiopian delegation also included Solomon Afework, President, Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, Solomon Tadesse, Chief Executive, Ethiopian Tourism Organisation, Azeb Asnake, Chief Executive, Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation and other officials. There were sessions on investing in Infrastructure and Energy, on tourism, minerals and manufacturing and agriculture as well as the role of the Diaspora.
Ambassador Dorey said the large turn-out and the particular sectors represented indicated the terrific scale of potential opportunity that Ethiopia in 2015 presented. Noting that the World Bank and IMF believe Ethiopia would continue to enjoy one of the highest growth rates on the planet for the next few years, he said Ethiopia was on the cusp of a light manufacturing revolution. He believed British resources, skills and expertise would be able to provide the professional expertise and support needed to match Ethiopia ambitions, and described Ethiopia as a country with a huge and growing market “which you should not and cannot ignore.” Dr. Tedros Adhanom, who described the Forum as an important platform for promoting and strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries, invited investors from the UK and Europe to take advantage of Ethiopia’s emerging market and vast opportunities in a range of areas, explaining the sound business environment and describing the government as 'facilitative'. He added: “Ethiopia has everything that you need to look for in taking a decision about where to invest: conducive business environment, political stability, sound economic policies, macro-economic stability, abundant natural resources, trainable work-force, a sizeable and captive market, and cleanest business climates.” Minister Shapps for his part noted that “Ethiopia’s massive investment in health, education, infrastructure, light manufacturing and agricultural productivity has made a significant contribution to that economic growth,” He noted that with a dramatic development scale “Ethiopia represents perhaps Africa’s best prospect of an East Asian style development miracle - presenting huge potential for trade and investment.” He expressed his hopes that with growing UK investment in Ethiopia the future holds high hope for a positive trajectory of trade and investment.