U.S. investment in Ethiopia reaches $4bn

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American direct investment into Ethiopia reached a record $4bn, head of transaction advisory services at Ernst &Young, Zemedeneh Negatu said. Speaking at the 10th US-Africa Business Summit being held in Addis Ababa, organized by the US-based Corporate Council on Africa, Zemedeneh listed US private equity groups KKR, Blackstone, Major Apparel manufacturers that are operating in the country. Zemedeneh said Ethiopia is increasingly attracting US companies and the cooperation between Ethiopia and the U.S. is moving beyond security and defence. “I can’t tell you the names at this stage but there will be other US companies signing agreements by next year,” he said.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn speaking at the summit said that US investment in Africa falls short of expectation compared to its total global investment. The Prime Minister noted that such a gathering would provide an opportunity to help investors and business communities to discover the potential and the prospects of investment in the African continent. Hailemariam added that the country is working to create conditions to open the economy for international investments and committed to improve the telecom service. Hailemariam said that US companies are encouraged to invest in Ethiopia in the development of renewable energy and light manufacturing sectors.
US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ms. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, announced at the summit that the US Congress passed the Electrifying Africa Legislation over the week. Noting that poverty is declining, income increasing and middle class growing in the best parts of the African continent, Ms. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Africa should create more jobs to its young generation in order to sustain this momentum. She also stressed on the need to strengthen commitment to ensure transparency and fight corruption.
U.S Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia M.Haslach on her part advised the Ethiopian government to work together with the US chamber of Commerce and Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to access more market opportunities.
The US-Africa Business summit is a biennial event and it was held in Africa for a second time.It aims at creating new partnership and expanding business opportunities between the U.S. and African countries.
In a related news, Ethiopia is preparing legal framework that would enable it benefit from the Power Africa Initiative, Ministry of Water and Irrigation disclosed. State Minister for Energy Sector, Wondimu Tekle said that the framework is being reviewed by relevant bodies and is expected to be adopted by the council of people’s representatives.
Power Africa, an initiative led by the U.S. government, aims to increase the number of people in sub-Saharan Africa who have access to power. Launched by President Obama in 2013, Power Africa aims to increase electricity access by adding more than 30,000 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity and 60 million new home and business connections across sub-Saharan Africa.
During President Barack Obama’s visit to Ethiopia on July 2015, Ethiopian Electric Power and Corbetti Geothermal Plc signed Ethiopia’s first independent power purchase agreement for up to 500 megawatts (MW) of clean geothermal power from the Corbetti geothermal source. Investors in the Corbetti geothermal project include Power Africa partner Reykjavik Geothermal, Power Africa partner Berkeley Energy, and Iceland Drilling.

Arefayné Fantahun
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