Africa is home to six of the top 10 fastest growing countries in the world. It is fast becoming integrated into the global economy and offers Omani exporters unprecedented economic opportunities. “Now is the time to step in and capture a share of Africa’s rising middle class. And to help Omani companies do that, we’re running a series of workshops on the Ethiopian market” says, Nasima Al Balushi, Ithraa’s Director General of Export Development.
Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest independent country and the second largest in terms of population with 83 million. “In recent years, it’s emerged as one of Africa’s fastest growing economies and this is why we’re running a series of nationwide export seminars on the Ethiopian market. We kicked-off last week in Sohar, the next session is scheduled for Wednesday 28 May at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Muscat followed by an event in Salalah on 9 June,” remarked Ithraa’s Director General of Export Development.
Boosted by domestic demand and an increase in private and public investment, African economies are expected to sustain high levels of economic growth over the next decade. And experts expect rising incomes will lead to higher consumer spending which is projected to almost double over the next 10 years.
In the 2012/13, Ethiopia’s economy grew by 9.7%, the tenth year in a row of solid growth. In 2012, it was the twelfth fastest growing economy in the world. Agriculture, which accounts for 42.7% of GDP, grew by 7.1%, while industry, accounting for 12.3% of GDP, rose by 18.5% and services, with 45% of GDP, increased by 9.9% in 2012/13.
“It’s these impressive results that sparked our interest, and as a result we commissioned an Ethiopian market study which predicts further economic momentum and points to some outstanding opportunities for Omani exporters,” remarked Ithraa’s Director General of Export Development.
Commissioned in 2013, the study identified almost 60 thrust products that have the potential to establish a strong market share in Ethiopia including food, stone, pharmaceuticals, cables, aluminum and plastics.
The study was conducted by Advanced Business Consultants in association with the Addis Ababa based Sub Saharan Africa Research and Training Center. The market research included one-on-one meetings with Omani exporters in target sectors to map product specifications and capacities in addition to a comprehensive primary survey carried-out in Ethiopia over a four month period.
“Although over 80% of Ethiopia’s population is rural its urban population is growing twice as fast as the rural and over half of Ethiopia is under the age of 20. It’s this young, university educated and relatively wealthy group that controls about 25% of all income and it’s a highly aspirational consumer group that’s looking for new products. This is what excites us,” added Mrs. Al Balushi.
Attended by leading Omani exporters and manufacturers in Sohar, the first Ithraa workshop provided attendees with an in-depth assessment of the Ethiopian economy, its imports and tax system as well as financial and political stability. It also highlighted market demand and trends especially in light of Ethiopia’s recent infrastructure boom.
“This specific set of three workshops are part of Ithraa’s on-going outreach program designed to spread awareness of the commercial opportunities on offer in Ethiopia and how we can help Omani exporters penetrate the African market and connect with importers. Indeed, we fully expect to see growth in Oman-Ethiopia trade relations. It’s an exciting time for both parties,” said Mrs. Al Balushi.
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