An online investment guide (iGuide) to Ethiopia was launched in Addis Ababa at the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on 19 December.
The iGuide provides investors with all they need to know to invest in the country. It also highlights areas for reform in the country’s investment environment and helps the government to understand investor needs.
“The investment guide is about making relevant and up-to-date content available to existing and potential investors,” said Fitsum Arega, Ethiopia’s Investment Commissioner, adding that “it should help us bridge the gap between foreign investors and small and medium enterprises.”
The website covers topics such as the rules and procedures for starting a business, taxes, acquisition of land, skills and wage expectations of the local labour force, quality of infrastructure, investor rights and business sectors with exceptionally high investment potential.
Users who wish to obtain more detailed information can consult additional documents that have been uploaded, such as relevant laws and useful contact information. The site also features extensive feedback collected among investors on the ground.
Officials at the Ethiopia Investment Commission developed the content of the guide, with the site designed to make the information easily updateable.
“The guides help countries attract better quality and greener foreign investment, and provide investors with information that is otherwise scattered across many different websites or outright not available,” UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant said at the launch.
“UNCTAD has estimated that annual private investment flows of $2.5 trillion are required between now and 2030 to meet the sustainable development goals,” Ms. Durant added.
“Productive and responsible investment, particularly in infrastructure, will also underpin regional integration of the type required to reap the benefits from the African Continental Free Trade Area and take the region towards the ambitious targets of Agenda 2063.”
Also present was ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe, who said that the online guide was a “demonstration of taking Africa to the digital age”.
To-date UNCTAD has produced 16 investment guides in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, of which seven, including Ethiopia, have been created in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa. UNCTAD is also working with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies to develop guides for the Caribbean region.
UNCTAD’s data has shown that countries benefiting from investment guides have a stronger foreign direct investment performance when compared to the benchmark trends for all developing countries.
Illustration Photo: Huajian shoe factory in the Eastern Industrial Zone in Ethiopia (credits: UNIDO / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0))