Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will be addressing The Economist Ethiopia Summit to be held on October 28-29th at the Sheraton Addis under the theme “Driving Continued Growth.” Organizers say the summit will bring together more than 150 policy makers, business leaders and multinational executives interested in expanding investments in Ethiopia.
Besides providing an opportunity for the international community to meet the local players, the summit offers a means to deliberate on ways in which the country’s economic potentials could be fully unleashed. Covering a wide range of topics from agriculture to manufacturing to energy, discussions are going to be conducted on whether the state led economic model is sustainable how can the sizable market potentials and the abundant natural resources be utilized, with the country’s financial sector being predominantly state-run, how can concerns over the availability of financing be overcome, what bottlenecks are hampering the private sector and how they can be curbed.
Some of the confirmed speakers include Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Sindiso Ngwenya, and Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Haddis Tadesse, country representative of Bill and Melinda Foundation, while the opening address is to be delivered by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
“The exciting things that are happening in the side of economics and business in Ethiopia are going to be captured at the summit,” said Micheal Oakes Head of Programs for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the Economist Events, speaking to the press on Thursday. According to figures from the Economist Intelligence Unit East Africa saw a 6.8 billion USD Foreign Direct Investment inflow in 2014 of which Ethiopia’s share is 1.2 Billion USD, while in the next four years Ethiopia’s Per Capita GDP is expected to increase by 37 per cent. “We run a lot of country events and they usually coincide with growth in the economy,” said Oakes. “What makes our event different and exciting is the multi-stakeholder approach we have. From policy makers to politicians to business executives to academia, you see people whom you wouldn’t normally see in a room.”
The excitement of the event is reflected in the fact that it is taking place over a day and a half said Nicola Bowen Senior Program Editor for the Economist Events. “Most of our events take place over a day. We feel it is optimal time given Ethiopia is pressing ahead with its GTP II.”
Adding up on the significance of the event, Oakes maintained, “we think that this summit will be an important first step for the economic future of Ethiopia whichever route that takes.”
The discussion will be chaired by Xan Smiley of the Economist and Mary Harper of the BBC. The Economist runs around 45 events in the Africa, Middle East and Europe region.