Major Japanese companies ready to invest in Ethiopia

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Major Japanese companies ready to invest in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, August 27, 2016 (FBC) - At the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TIACD VI), major Japanese companies have expressed their interests of investing in Ethiopia.

Company leaders have met with Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn at the summit in Nairobi where the conference is being hosted in Africa for the first since 1993.

Fitsum Arega, Director General of the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), who is attending conference as part of Ethiopian delegation in Nairobi, told The Reporter that during the summit, six major Japanese companies have requested to meet the PM and have conferred on how they could be part of the Ethiopian foreign investment landscape.

According to Fitsum, Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC), the trading arm of the Toyota Group has shown interests to install geothermal power generation and textile machineries facility in Ethiopia. The company has analyzed the potential of the Ethiopian market in textile and geothermal energy, Fistum said. As to how much is on the table to be invested, however, he said that the MoU signed with TTC is at its infant stage and the corporation will further conduct feasibility studies on the potential investment areas.

Adding to that, TTC has also conveyed readiness to set up a textile machineries assembly, maintenance and supplying facility in Ethiopia as industrial parks are expanding. It is to be recalled that TTC for some time has been chasing whether it can embark on the Alto Langano Geothermal Project. Currently, in addition, new geothermal projects are underway to be developed. Beyond that, Toyota Tsusho has embarked some 300,000 US dollars to set up a leather goods manufacturing plant: Hiroki Co. Ltd.

In addition to TTC, Toshiba Corporation, the prominent ICT brand is geared to involve in the energy sector. Toshiba is well reputed for its machineries production for the energy sector. Yosuke Yamamato, deputy manager of Toshiba for global sales of geothermal and thermal power, told The Reporter that the company is looking for more funds from the Japanese government to become more operational in Ethiopia. Currently, Toshiba is supplying turbines known as Geoportable to generate some 5MW from two wells so far drilled. But, according to Yamamato, there are 20 wells needed to be drilled to generate and utilize the 70MWof potential geothermal power from Alto Langano around the Rift Valley in Ethiopia.

Sumitomo Corporation, one of the largest companies in Japan also was in touch with Prime Minister Hailemariam to highlight its interests of investing in areas of metal products. Heads of Sumitomo Corporation pledged that they will set aside some 60 million US dollars to set up a metal processing factory in Ethiopia.

Marubeni Corporation, a renowned conglomerate that runs diverse trading and investment segments, has long been associated with Ethiopian coffee export market and is the other giant company in contact with Ethiopian officials to capitalize on investment opportunities.

Koyo Holding is the other firm interested to work in Ethiopia in areas of LED lights production and electricity business.

The surge of interest the Japanese businesses have expressed can be seen as very pleasing outcome for the government that has been longing to win the minds and hearts of such conglomerates for long. The companies are coming this far only after the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) has become operational lately opening representative office in Addis.

So far, more than 3,000 Japanese businesses representatives and 150 companies have turned up at the TICAD VI summit where Kenya alone has the presence of 100 or more companies including Toyota which long ago installed an auto manufacturing plant.

Source: The Reporter

Posted by Amare Asrat

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