AFROCOM Executive Director Stanislav Mezentsev paid a working visit to Ethiopia: interesting observations for Russia and domestic business
To prepare for the forthcoming business mission and the opening of the Russian Business Support Centre in Addis Ababa, from 5 to 10 January, AFROCOM Executive Director Stanislav Mezentsev visited Ethiopia

During his visit to Addis Ababa Mr. Mezentsev had a number of meetings with Ethiopian officials and businessmen, in particular with the Director of the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), executives of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as representatives of various Ethiopian Business Associations (e.g. coffee and tea producers). A number of working meetings were held with Ethiopian officials in charge of development of cooperation between Ethiopia and Russia.

The meetings resulted in confirmation of the agreement to organise a business mission by Russian businessmen to Addis Ababa in late February. Representatives of the Ethiopian government and business have also expressed keen interest in boosting relations with Russia.

The visit of AFROCOM Executive Director pointed to a unique historic opportunity to redefine relations with Ethiopia with which Russia has always been closely linked economically, culturally and spiritually. Strong and friendly relations between Russia and Ethiopia have always stood apart in the line of interaction between Russia and Africa.

Ethiopia expects Russia, as one of its main strategic partners, to intensify economic, political and cultural cooperation. In addition to already existing systems of business support in Ethiopia, the African country is ready to provide the most favorable investment conditions for regional small and medium-sized Russian businesses that are ready to localize production on Ethiopian territory.

The Ethiopian market holds particular promise for advanced Russian technologies in fintech, medicine and education. In terms of personnel training, Russian-Ethiopian relations have been long and reliably cemented by the Academy of Sciences' expedition project, which has been operating for decades.

AFROCOM Executive Director Stanislav Mezentsev was also a personal witness of the mass public actions held on January 7 in Addis Ababa against foreign interference into the internal affairs of Ethiopia and in support of the government and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in restoring the constitutional order and territorial integrity of the country. At present the armed conflict situation against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) has stabilised. The military phase of the conflict has come to an end and the crisis is expected to end.

One of the outcomes of the internal conflict has been a redistribution of spheres of influence in the Ethiopian economy, a country of more than 115 million people. Together with the impact of foreign sanctions policy factors and the withdrawal of the African country from the AGOA programme, which provided duty-free access to the US market for local producers, Ethiopia has become an attractive market for new foreign investment. China, Turkey, India and other countries are already actively pursuing these opportunities. An AFROCOM business mission planned for the end of February will familiarise participants with these opportunities in as much detail as possible.

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