Women entrepreneurs represent Ethiopia in Djibouti International Trade Fair

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Ethiopian companies from the manufacturing sector have participated in a multi-event International Trade Fairunderway in Djibouti City; however,as a matter of coincidence almost all companies from Ethiopia at the Fair were seen represented by female business leaders.

The 10-day long trade fair was opened on Monday by Djibouti President, Ismael UmerGuellehwithofficials,business owners as well as investors from various countries in attendance.

Djibouti, hosting this trade fair for the second time, has attracted around 310 participating exhibiters from five continents, according to the Djiboutian Chamber of Commerce which organized the event beginning from December 3rdto December 13th.

According to officials, the fair will focus on boosting comprehensive regional cooperation to promote trade and investment among countries;and to make the country a major tourist destination.

While delivering his opening remarks, President Guelleh pledged his government’s commitment to create conducive environment for regional and global cooperation.

“My government has taken several measures including improving policy frameworks, establishing free trade zones and port developments that would help create conducive trade and investment environment in the country”.

Ethiopia, which in fact did not participate in the first edition of the trade fair, was represented by 10 exhibitors. However, surprisingly, almostall Ethiopian exhibitors were women entrepreneurs engaged in a mediumand small manufacturing sector;meanwhile large scale manufacturers or exporters sector were completely absent.

These participating exhibitorsdisplayed their products, mainly: textile products and leather, food and beverages as well as agricultural outputs.

This year’s event, taking into account last year’s event which hosted only 200 companies, has been dubbed a success by the Djiboutian Chamber of Commerce.

According to the organizers, theevent was marked with the presence of manufacturers, importers, exporters, freight and forwarding companies, transporters as well as other service operators mainly from France, Japan, China, Ethiopia, Turkey and others.

President of the Djibouti Chamber of Commerce,YoussoufMoussaDawaleh, met withan Ethiopian journalist crew a day before the launchof the trade fair,and indicatedthat the participation of Ethiopian companies this year has contributed to the substantial increase of the overall participation.

Speaking about the progress of the ongoing trade fair, he told reporters on Thursdaystating, “This event is a very magnificent step.It will highlight the future of a sustainable trade and investment cooperation in the Horn of Africa.”

“Last year, we had only 200 total exhibitors and unfortunately no Ethiopian companies were here. Now, at least 10 Ethiopian exhibitors would join us as of tomorrow [Monday 3rd of December 2018],”Dawaleh said.He also added,“This substantial increase isone of the biggest successes for Djibouti who along with Ethiopia is exerting efforts towards regional integration.”

Besides displaying products and promotional activities; the organizers dedicated eachdays for various countries in a show of friendship with Djibouti.

First Day was dedicated to France Day while Ethiopian Day was marked on Wednesday with the presence of State Minister of Foreign Affairs,HirutZemene and ShalemoFitamo (Amb.) who was accompanied by Djibouti’s Foreign Minister and the President of Chamber of Commerce.

Delivering a remark as the Guest of Honor on Wednesday’s event, Hirutnoted that beyond sharing common borders, the two countries are inter-connected in many aspects includinga closer political, economic and historical relation out of mutual necessity of peace and security.

On Ethiopia’s day, the event was colorfully celebrated with a test of Ethiopian cuisine and products displayed, while artists from the Ethiopian National Theatre presented traditional music and dancing.