It is with great pleasure I welcome you all to the 27th Annual IAOM MEA Conference & Expo 2016 to be held from the 24th to the 27th of October 2016 here in Addis Ababa at the Millennium Hall, where more than 300 companies in the agro-processing sector from all over the globe are expected to participate in the conference and expo. This is a great opportunity for Ethiopia to present its investment potential offered to investors.
The topic of industrialization is high on the agenda for Ethiopia. The country has set a vision to reach middle income status and to be a leading nation in light manufacturing in Africa by 2025. To realize the vision, Ministry of Industry has developed a 13 year (2013-2025) Industrial Development Road Map and also prepared more than 19 sector based strategies altogether putting industrialization as the catalyst for the sustainable and inclusive transformation of the economy. In the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II, 2016 – 2020), the country has set an objective to transform the economy and expedite the industrialization process with the manufacturing sub-sector given top priority for accelerated growth.
Agro-processing is among the most prioritized investment areas in which the country has comparative advantages in the area. The Government of Ethiopia has put in place various incentive packages and supporting instruments including the development of Integrated Agro-Industrial Parks (IAIPs). The IAIPs aim to coordinate and integrate dispersed value chain components by clustering and creating linkages between farmers, processors and consumers. The IAIPs will be spread across the country and linked to each other through agro-industry growth corridors (AIGC). A total of 17 AIGCs were selected in different parts of the country, from which four were identified for pilot projects. Implementation of the IAIPs would create ample investment opportunities to the private sector.
Ethiopia is strategically located to the European and Asian markets. Being the second largest populous country in Africa, it also offers a potentially growing domestic market. It is also the home of many international organizations and institutions while becoming an important venue for various global and regional events.
We, therefore, strongly believe that the IAOM MEA Conference & Expo 2016 will create an opportunity for participants to explore dedication of the Government and the people of Ethiopia in attracting and sustaining private sector investment. It also presents a platform for participants to learn of the wide range of investment opportunities in the country.
In this regard, we assure you all that we will jointly work with all stakeholders to make the event very successful and fruitful. We are honored and privileged to host the 27th IAOM MEA Conference & Expo 2016 and are pleased to welcome you all.
I look forward to seeing you at the conference in Addis Ababa October 24-27 this year.
H.E. Dr. Mebrahtu Meles
Ethiopia's State Minister of Industry