The meeting started-off with a welcome note from the Ambassador and a quick roundtable introduction. An assessment of the current political situation in the country and security issues were also presented by the Embassy. Participants were advised to read the Travel Information for Ethiopia.
Companies represented include Yara Dallol BV, Penda Manufacturing PLC, Skanem, DNV.GL, EA Group, Accelerated, Shipping Offshore Services, Etno Mining PLC (subsidiary of Abyssinia Resources Development), and Berhan Agriculture and Commercial PLC (a subsidiary of the Norwegian Ethiopian Agricultural Development). The representatives introduced their companies and gave brief status update on their activities in Ethiopia. DNV.GL also presented in detail their Business Assurance line of business and what they are planning to do in Ethiopia.
The topic focus of this Team Norway meeting was agribusiness where the Embassy presented the Norwegian approach for private sector development in Ethiopia. A particular emphasis was given to the most important initiative managed by Norad, which is the integrated value chain approach on agriculture. The plan here is to find and build on synergies by providing support to actors within the different parts of the same value chain through strategic partnerships. In this regard, it was decided to focus on the honey value chain in the first round of this initiative as there is a significant potential for honey in Ethiopia.
The goal of Norad’s honey value chain development programme is to solve various bottlenecks preventing the growth of the sector through the involvement of relevant actors. This includes private sector (local, international, and Norwegian companies), NGOs, competent government actors (Agriculture Transformation Agency), multilateral institutions (International Financial Corporation) and other donor organizations with expertise in the sector. This coordinated and systematic effort contribute to the overall objective of sustainable poverty reduction, while also increasing employment and exports.
The Development Fund of Norway, a key partner in the honey value chain development programme, presented the honey project plans in detail highlighting the opportunities and challenges. The agreement between Norad and Development Fund was signed in November 2017 during the official state visit from Norway (link). One of the most important challenges that still need to be addressed in the project is to find an effective structure for establishing credit access to beehives for the beekeepers.
Participants of the Team Norway were encouraged to frame these types of strategic partnerships and develop proposals that address specific bottlenecks in the value chain for sectors with comparative advantage in both Ethiopia and Norway. More information about the funding shceme can be access by clicking on the link: Cooperation on Framework Conditions for Private Sector Development. Another call for concept proposals is expected in May/June 2018.
The meeting was concluded with another round of open discussion where the Norwegian companies highlighted some of their challenges in doing business in Ethiopia. Participants also suggested few topics of interest for future Team Norway meetings.