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Seminars on Doing Business in Ethiopia, with a focus on horticulture

Seminars in the Netherlands on Sustainable business in Ethiopia, with a focus on horticulture and Doing Business in Ethiopia 

An Ethiopian High-Level delegation made a working visit to the Netherlands including two promotional seminars on sustainable business with a focus on horticulture and doing business in Ethiopia. The objectives of the visit and seminars were to inform to the Dutch public sector and private sector about the present situation, new vision and economic trends of the country and seek the support of the Dutch government to encourage the private sector in investing in Ethiopia. Another objective was to inform the Dutch private sector about the current business opportunities and invite to participate in the economic development of the country by way of investment, knowledge and technology transfer and benefits out of it.

Working visit and seminar on sustainable business in Ethiopia, with a focus on horticulture

From 18 March-21 March, 2017, with the support of the Dutch Government, A High- Level Ethiopian Delegation led by H.E. Dr. Arkebe Oqubay Metiku, Sr. Government Minister and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister made a working visit and seminar on promoting sustainable business in Ethiopia, with a focus on horticulture.

During the visit, the delegation made a field visit to Schiphol-Cargo, Royal VOPAK, and world’s leading independent tank storage company, exchange of information with Mr. Jeroen Verheul, Ambassador at large for Netherlands Foreign Trade and Development and discussion with development agents and knowledge institutions: EP-Nuffic, Solidaridad Europe and Landscape and Wageningen University Research Station. Flying Swans also gave presentation on the cool cargo chain followed by discussion.

The delegation also held talk with Mr. Kees van Baar, Human rights Ambassador of the Netherlands on human rights in business and investments and her Excellency Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation on bilateral economic cooperation, assistance with sustainable land management and initiatives and tangible long-term sustainability. In addition, the delegation had a guided tour at Royal Floraholand and at Aasmeer, the largest trading center for plants and flowers in the world and a field visit at Kuehne-nagel, one of the leading global providers of innovative and fully integrated supply chain solutions and Evofendex and Waterwatch Cooperative dealing with trade facilitation and information services with satellite technology for Agrifood accessible and affordable to all actors in the value chain respectively.

The incoming mission had also a seminar on business opportunities in horticulture: integrated development of horticulture site Hawassa in Ethiopia, at Robobank-Westland. The seminar was kicked off by Mr. Sjaak van de Tak, Mayar of Westland with more than 70 participants from the public and private sectors. Following this, Dr. Arkebe gave presentation on the new vision and economic trends of Ethiopia and Mr. Zelalem Meles, Ethiopian Diaspora investor in horticulture and Chairman of the Ethiopian Horticulture Association gave presentation on the performance and opportunities of the Ethiopian horticulture sector, the new horticulture hubs, incentives applicable to the hubs and his testimonials as an investor.

Mr. Peter Niekus gave presentation on how Rabobank supports Dutch business in Africa, Mr Jan-Erik Visscher, and Account Manager Ethiopia FloraHolland on perspectives in horticulture and two Dutch investors on horticulture in Ethiopia also gave their testimonials on the Ethiopian Horticulture industry. The seminar was rounded by question and answer session and business networking.

Seminar on Doing Business in Ethiopia

On 22 March 2017, a high-level seminar on ‘Doing Business in Ethiopia’ was jointly organized by the Embassy of Ethiopia in Brussels and the Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC) at the Common Fund for Commodities in Amsterdam.

The seminar was kicked off by the opening remark of the host, Mr. Alex Gruber, Chief Operations Officer at Common Fund for Commodities (CFC).

Mr. Tesfaye Tadesse, Minister Councellor at the Embassy of Ethiopia in Brussels, on behalf of Mr. Teshome Toga, Ethiopian Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to the Benelux, also made a welcoming remark and explained about the Ethio-Netherlands political and economic relations and the alignment of Ethiopian economic diplomacy anchored foreign and national security policy and strategy with the Dutch economic cooperation policy of trade, aid and investment. He also mentioned the pivotal role of the private sectors of the two sisterly countries for the enhancement of the relation and the policy measures taken by the two Governments and cited the Double Taxation Avoidance Treaties (DTs) and Bilateral Investment Guarantee Treaties (BITs) concluded between the two Governments. Furthermore, he indicated about 135 Dutch companies active in investment mostly in horticulture in the country and the incoming and outgoing trade missions concluded on our priority areas in the past years and the Ethio-Netherlands Business event held in Nov/2015 based on the business opportunity reports of the two sisterly countries.  Both were concluded in collaboration with the Ethiopian Embassy in Brussels, the Dutch Embassy in Addis and NABC, with the full support of the governments of the two sisterly countries.

During the seminar Dr. Arkebe updated the participants about the current situation, the new vision and economic trends in Ethiopia. The Minister emphasized on the stability and economic growth of the country and mentioned about the commitment of the government in dedicating more than 60% of its annual budget to infrastructure, energy and education and the competitive advantage of the country to foreign direct investment. He also briefed to participants about the extensive developments of 10 world class eco-industrial parks in the country dedicated for specific sectors such as textile and apparel, leather and leather products, pharmaceuticals, agro-products etc, and aimed at commodities production along value chains. He also mentioned that the parks are surrounded by infrastructure such as airport, railway lines, dry airports, universities etc. and elaborated about the incentives given to manufacturers and developers. The Minister, as an example indicated the recently inaugurated Hawassa Industrial Park specialized in textile with I billion USD annual export revenue generating capacity employing 60,000 employees.

Dr. Belachew Mekuria, Deputy Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission on his part briefed the participants about the current investment climate, investment incentives and services provided by the Commission to investors. Ato Yakob Yala, Director of the Ethiopian Horticulture and Agriculture Authority also briefed about the responsibility of the organization he represents, the Ethiopian horticulture sector development and the new horticulture hubs at Hawassa, Alagae, Arbaminch and Bahir Dar and incentives applicable to the hubs. Question and answer sessions were also entertained following the presentations.

As representatives of the Dutch private sector in Ethiopia, Jeroen Beijers (General Manager Africa Bavaria), Willem van Noort (CEO Kagan Spices) and Andy Kers (General Manager Steder Logistics) gave presentations and testimonials to the audience about their activities and the business opportunities in Ethiopia.

Network meetings with the delegation members and one-to-one meetings with Dr. Arkebe, Dr Belachew and Mr. Yacob Yala were also organized during the event.

In a nut shell, the working visit and the promotional seminars were successful for the objectives they were planned for.

Pictures © NABC

Ethiopia relaxes state of emergency restrictions

The Secretariat of the Command Post of the State of Emergency on Wednesday (March 15) announced that it has lifted parts of the State of Emergency imposed in October following the “restoration of law and order in many parts of the country”.

Secretariat of the Comand Post and Minister of National Defense, Siraj Fegessa said that arbitrary arrests without court orders and searches without court papers have been terminated. The curfew that was imposed on movements around major infrastructural facilities from 6:00 P.M to 6:00 A.M for security reasons is among the lifted restrictions.

Siraj added that the article on restricting and controlling messages on radio, TV, literature, pictures, photographs, theater and film productions have also been lifted. It was also said that some of the articles in the two directives previously issued to implement the state of emergency have been cancelled because the country is back on normal state of affairs.

State Minister Hirut Zemene meets with the Africa Working Party of the Council of the European Union (COAFR)

State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Mrs. Hirut Zemene met a high-level delegation of the Africa Working Party of the Council of the European Union (COAFR) this morning (March 17, 2017).

The State Minister briefed the delegation on national issues and developments in the region.

Praising the overall strategic partnership between Ethiopia and the EU, Mrs. Hirut said the two parties are working closely on implementing the strategic engagement Agreement in general and cooperating across issues of human rights and Good governance in particular. 

The State Minister called on the delegation to work on the implementation of Job Compact initiative which she emphasized would benefit thousands of youth migrants. 

She also underlined the need for a continued comprehensive support from international partners like the EU for countries in the region, including South Sudan and Somalia.

Press Release: Ethiopia declares three days of national mourning for victims of garbage dump landslide

On Saturday 11th of March 2017, parts of the largest hillside at the Koshe garbage dump in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, collapsed. The landslide buried a slum that had been built in this area.

Dr. Negeri Lencho, Communication Affairs Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia said the majority of the dead were women and children as well the rescue operations were still continuing on the 15th of March. He further said the tragic incident has left 113 people 38 men and 75 women dead and several others wounded.

Mr. Diriba Kuma, Mayor of Addis Ababa city administration has extended his personal condolences and affirmed the commitment of the administration to support the victim families sustainably and provide ten to fifteen thousand birr and they would be resettled permanently in the coming years.

The mayor said the city administration has established three separate committees to conduct studies and provide sustainable solutions to the bereaved families. The administration has relocated 106 households, consisting of a total of 297 families, from the garbage dump site and the Mayor called on donors and other bodies to assist the administration’s effort.

The government tried to close the dump in 2016 and move it to a new location, but reconsidered the decision after people living near the new site shared their concern.

The House of People’s Representatives of Ethiopia has declared three days of national mourning starting on 15th of March 2017. The House also expressed its profound sympathy to bereaved families.

Accordingly, Ethiopia’s flag fly at half-mast for three days across the country, Ethiopian owned ships as well as Ethiopian embassies and consular offices abroad.

The Embassy of Ethiopia in Brussels extended its deepest condolences over the death of the victims and also offered its profound sympathy to the families who lost their loved ones.

Embassy of Ethiopia, Brussels


House declares 3-days of national mourning

The House of People’s Representatives (HPR) has officially declared a three-day long national mourning for the death of 72 people due the sudden slide of dump rubbish at the outskirt of Addis Ababa in an area known as Quoshe.

The House decided three-days of mourning from March 15-17, 2017, after it concluded its regular session today.

Flags will be hoisted at half mast in all Ethiopian embassies, ships and consuls for the coming three days.

The House expressed its deep condolences for the families and the dead via the statement it sent officially to the media.

Ethiopian Cargo recognized at Brussels Airport Aviation Awards

This year, Brussels Airport is celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Brussels Airport Aviation Awards. Once again, 10 airlines and partners received a special award during a sparkling evening event attended by 200 guests. The Brussels Airport Aviation Awards are presented in various categories to the airlines and partners that have distinguished themselves in the past year in network development and new routes, environment and safety, performance and punctuality.

The Network Development Award Cargo Airline went to Ethiopian Airlines Cargo. The hub at Brucargo has been expanded with more flights and destinations and Ethiopian has become the largest cargo airline at Brussels Airport in just 6 months.

Ethiopian Airlines Press release: Ethiopian Wins ‘Cargo Airline Award for Network Development” at Brussels Airport

From left to right: Brussels Airport representative, Mr. Bisrat Tedla, Benelux Area Manager Ethiopian Airlines and Mr. Dereje Kuma, Manager, Ethiopian Cargo
Brussels Airport representative and Mr. Dereje Kuma, Manager, Ethiopian Cargo
From left to right: Mr. Bisrat Tedla, Benelux Area Manager Ethiopian Airlines, Brussels Airport representative and Mr. Dereje Kuma, Manager, Ethiopian Cargo
From left to right: Mr. Bisrat Tedla, Benelux Area Manager Ethiopian Airlines and Mr. Dereje Kuma, Manager, Ethiopian Cargo

Ethiopian Wine: the Revival of an Ancient Tradition

© Castel Winery Ethiopia

Grapes and wine were already well known in Ethiopia around the first century A.D. when they were first imported through the Red Sea Port of Adulis. Afterwards, Ethiopians started brewing traditional fermented beverages from locally available raw materials to provide their guests. Ethiopia has been making a local wine called tedj, or Ethiopian mead, a honey wine flavored with an indigenous herb much like hops that remains the most popular alcoholic beverage in Ethiopia. However, this ancient wine-making tradition is now coexisting with a modern form of wine-making. Ethiopia is growing its own grapes and producing its own standardized high-quality wines.

A growing local demand

The production of modern winery in Ethiopia first started when Awash winery, the oldest winery in Ethiopia, was established in 1956. Awash Winery – which is run by local entrepreneur Mulugeta Tesfakiros – owns more than 117 hectares of a wine estate and has an annual production capacity of about 10 million bottles, most of which is exclusively sold on the Ethiopian market.

In 2014, Ethiopia’s annual wine consumption was around one million litres, six times lower than Kenya’s. But this reality is slowly changing, as wine has become more popular in recent years. The annual wine consumption in Ethiopia is expected to grow to more than 8.5 million litres per year. As the local demand for quality wine is at an all-time high, Awash is speeding ahead with a capital expansion project to increase the winery’s production capacity to an annual of 20 million liters by 2020 through an expansion of the vineyards and farming mechanisation. New vines have been planted on a 100 ha plot, which doubles the company’s cultivated farm land. This production capacity increase allows the company to look into export opportunities. In the coming 18 months, the company plans to begin exporting its product. This success has attracted new players to engage in the country’s young wine sector.

New players and local incentives

Wine grape on the domain of Castel in Ethiopia. © Castel Winery Ethiopia

In 2007, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi invited Pierre Castel, founder of French beverage giant Castel, one of the largest wine and beer producer in the world, to assess the opportunities for vineyards in the country. A year later, the company imported different grape varieties and began setting up its vineyard in Ziway spreading across 120 hectares, 163 km south from the capital, Addis Ababa. When sales began in 2014, customers rapidly fell in love with Castel’s products and locally produced wines are now preferred to imported ones. Today, Castel manages a 162-hectare vineyard and produces about 1.4 million bottles a year − with over half exported to China, the US and Australia.

Several factors explain this success. First, Ethiopia’s geographic location and climate. Castle’s vineyards have an annual rainfall of about 650 mm, an average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius per year and sandy soils, which are ideal conditions for the development of quality wines. Due to Ethiopia’s proximity to the equator, it is even possible to make two harvests per year. In addition, local wine consumption is growing in Ethiopia, although starting from a low base. Locally-produced wine can be found in the new supermarket chains appearing around the country, as Ethiopia’s economy continues to grow. A significant portion of Castel’s exports are targeted at Ethiopian restaurants, of which there is a growing number globally.

Third, wineries based in Ethiopia benefit from several tax incentives such as the AGOA programme supporting free access to US market or the EU’s Everything but Arms (EBA) programme, which provides a duty and quota-free access to the European markets. Some regional states in Ethiopia have also provided investment incentives for this sector, in order to further support the development of wineries. Finally, the Castel group employs organic farming method in accordance to Ethiopia sustainable development policies, a promising method as the consumption of organic wine has out-paced growth in the consumption of non-organic wine.

Conquering the Global market

© Castel Winery Ethiopia

Awash’s winery range consists of four wines: A white and a red, made from the grapes from Awash vineyard: Kemila Medium Dry White 2013, a slightly sweet white, mainly from Chenin blanc (80%) and Grenache Blanc and Axumit Sweet Red Wine 2013, a blend of red Grenache (60%), Sangiovese, Petite Syrah, Gamay, Nebbiolo, Dodoma and Tinta Amarela. This is the most popular Ethiopian wine with a nose of red fruit and a great acidity. Two resinous wines complete the collection: Awash White wine 2014, a Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) sparkling wine made from 100% Chenin Blanc and Gouder Red Wine 2013. A peculiarity at Awash is that they constantly recycle wine bottles, thus we could find old bottles, 40 to 50 years old, on the market. A great environmental initiative.

Castel for its part has two brands, Rift Valley and Acacia. While the Rift Valley wine is targeting more experienced wine drinkers, foreigners and high-end restaurants, its Acacia range (with four different blends) is aimed at an emerging Ethiopian wine-drinker who tend to prefer sweet et fruity wines.  Castel’s wined ranges seven different types of products, two white wines and five red wines. Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were chosen for the reds while Chardonnay grapes were chosen for the white wines. Acacia Medium sweet white 2013 is a 100% Chardonnay with a taste of banana and white flowers. Acacia Medium sweet red 2013 is a blend with equal proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Syrah, which is very popular and appreciated by Ethiopian palates. Acacia Dry red 2013 has the same blend in a dry version, with intense black fruit flavours. The premium range of the Rift Valley are for their part wines partly aged in French oak barrels. Rift Valley Chardonnay 2013 is a fresh white wine with peach and citrus aromas. Rift Valley Merlot 2013 is red a crunchy wine full of red fruit and wood softened tannins. Finally, Rift Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 is a well-made, more powerful structured wine. With such a diverse and promising range, it is easy to understand why the Castel group bet on Ethiopia’s vineyards, and their belief that Ethiopia has the potential to rival the continent’s main wine producer, South Africa in a few years.

For more information

Solomon Dilbaba, “Wine-Making in Ethiopia – Cultural, Historical and Economic Significance”, The Ethiopian Herald, 12 May 2016

Kate Douglas, “Ethiopia’s emerging wine industry luring consumers locally and abroad”, How we made it in Africa, 13 December 2016

Press Release: Ethiopia taking measures to mitigate new drought

The El Niño phenomenon and global climate change caused the failure of two rainy seasons, negatively affecting the livelihoods of millions people in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa Region.

This drought is affecting around 5.6 million people in Ethiopia, especially the pastoral communities in Somali Regional State,  the lowlands of Borena, Bale and Gujji zones in the Oromia Regional State and South Omo zone of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ State.

As soon as the first climatic signs were detected, Ethiopian President Dr. Mulatu Teshome and other high government officials visited the affected regions and held discussions with local communities on the possible solutions to mitigate the drought.

Moreover, a National Disaster Risk Management Commission was established. Along with the National Command Post chaired Mr. Demeke Mekonen, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, it is carrying out studies about the situation of the drought-affected regions of the country.

In an interview given on the 8th of March, Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Demeke Mekonen underlined the commitment of the government to prevent the negative impact on the lives of the people and of their cattle in the pastoralist communities.

The government allocated 47 million dollars to provide food and health services to the drought affected people. These response programs are conducted without affecting the ongoing development programs currently underway in the country, the Deputy Prime Minister said.

To face the drought at a regional level, the Heads of States and Governments of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia signed the Mogadishu Declaration on Regional Cooperation on the Current Drought on 22 February 2017, and called for “international collaboration and regional partnership between governments, civil society, aid organizations, business and international donors.”

In this spirit of regional partnership, Ethiopia donated over 7,200 quintals of emergency food assistance and 26,667 cartons of milk to the Somaliland region after the Somaliland administration declared the existence of a serious drought.

In the last years, Ethiopia’s government has created dedicated institutions and gained significant experience to mitigate droughts. The country shared its experience at the Istanbul Humanitarian Conferences in 2016.

On 29 January 2017, UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres called for total solidarity with the government and the people of Ethiopia. At this occasion, he commended the Ethiopian government and the humanitarian community for the successful response to the 2016 El Niño-induced drought in Ethiopia

Last year, the Ethiopian government and humanitarian partners successfully addressed the impact of the El Niño-induced drought, assisting at least 10.2 million people with food and rolling out a massive emergency response in the country, reaching 1.5 million households. Some 3.1 million children were supported through the school feeding program and 2.7 million people were assisted with clean water.

While international donors contributed close to 1 billion dollars over the course of the 2016 response, the government of Ethiopia spent at least 735 million dollars. The combined government and partners’ effort helped save countless people’s lives and averted a major humanitarian catastrophe in the country.

Embassy of Ethiopia in Brussels. Contact