Times of Oman
Mar 30, 2017 Last Updated at 05:41 AST
Ethiopian businessmen and investors flock to Opex 2016 in Addis Ababa
April 12, 2016 | 7:26 PM
by Times News Service
More than 100 companies are participating in the event representing different industries. - Supplied picture
 
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Muscat: Omani Products Exhibition (Opex 2016), which was inaugurated on Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is witnessing an outstanding turnout of Ethiopian investors and business owners. The visitors aim at getting acquainted with the Sultanate’s various prominent industries through the participating companies at Opex 2016.

More than 100 companies are participating in the event representing different industries including natural resources, minerals, wood products, manufacturing products, furniture, food, medical and pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, plastic and metal equipment, perfume, leather, and logistics, in addition to related government bodies and a number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Fahmy Al Hinai, honorary consul of Ethiopia in Oman and Vice Chairman of Opex Organising Committee, said, "This event is vital due to the fact that it stimulatesthe marketing of Omani products and expands their markets not only in Ethiopia but also to its neighbouring countries. In fact, there are around 250 million people living around Ethiopia in Kenya and South Sudan, where there is a need to expand food, industrial and building materials. We hope that Ethiopia represents a starting pointthat allows us to reach to the neighbouring states."

"The Omani products have great capabilities to compete in the markets," he stressed, adding: "Omani products are available in the Ethiopian market, however they do not reach Ethiopia directly but via other countries. The prices of Omani products are reasonable compared to the other products besides their high quality characteristics."

When asked about the Oman-Ethiopia Friendship Committee, Al Hinai informed that the tasks of the committee will commence soon, hoping for sponsorships from major bodies to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in various fields. He also noted that efforts are underway to establish an Embassy of Ethiopia in the Sultanate.

Omani exports

On her part, Nasima Al Balushi, Ithraa’s director general of Export Development, mentioned that the latest statistics released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) indicate a good increase in the non-oil Omani exports between 2014 and 2015 estimated at around 87 per cent.

"Such encouraging results indicate that there are promising opportunities for the Omani products in the Ethiopian and neighbouring markets. Moreover, Ethiopia was chosen to be the first destination of Opex 2016 outside the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market after a study been prepared by Ithraa in cooperation with a local firm. The study affirmed the opportunities available for Oman’s non-oil products in Ethiopia. Last year, b2b meetings were held in Addis Ababa in an effort to strengthen and develop the volume of non-oil Omani exports to the Ethiopian market, find promising opportunities and deals, and boost trade relations with Ethiopia," Al Balushi pointed out.

Mahmoud bin Sakhi Al Balushi, CEO of Al Madina Logistics, who signed an agreement with Beckma Logistics and Transport Company to provide clearing and forwarding services and facilitate trade exchange between the Sultanate and Ethiopia, expressed his happiness to sign this agreement in an effort to support and promote the Omani products in the Ethiopian market.

"We aspire that this agreement facilitates the export of Omani products and increases the volume of trade exchange by connecting the shipping movement with the ports in Djibouti since there are no ports in Ethiopia. This shall ensure the safety of the movement. The agreement shall also allow the companies in Oman to benefit from the experience of Beckma Logistics and Transport Company which would boost cooperation in the field of shipping and exporting to the African continent. Through this agreement, we will not only focus on the Ethiopian market, but the neighbouring ones as well. Besides, the Ethiopian market offers several opportunities where the Omani companies can benefit from," he stated.

New markets

The participating companies emphasised on the importance of their presence in such events to have access to new markets. Hamid Al Nahdi, General Manager of Dhofar Fisheries and Food Industries stressed on the fact that the African market is a large one and the company’s location in Raysut Industrial Estate in Dhofar governorate puts it in a close geographical location to the African continent. "Since the establishment of our company, we have always looked forward to reach to the African market through developing a comprehensive marketing plan. This exhibition has eventually eased the process through offering us the opportunity to meet with the importers and distributors in the African market," Al Nahdi pointed out.

Eng. Khamis Al Alawi, General Manager of General Leather Manufacturing Company, mentioned that the company is participating in OPEX 2016 following its successful participations in the previous OPEX events in the GCC area. "We hope that we can achieve another success at OPEX 2016 in Ethiopia especially that the Ethiopian and African markets are promising ones as per the studies conducted by the competent authorities in the Sultanate. So far we have met with interested business owners at the exhibition who have shown interest in dealing with us commercially," Al Alawi said.

Promoting Oman

Ali Al Abduwani, Business Development Manager at Voltamp Power, emphasised on the importance of such exhibitions to support the locally manufactured products on the one hand and promote the Sultanate on the other hand. "The objective of exploring new and emerging markets for the Sultanate’s products through Opex makes this exhibition a distinctive one. The turnout to the event is great so far, hoping that the coming days witness more visits from the businessmen and investors in Africa," Al Abduwani said.

Addis Ababa offers a promising and stimulating market where significant opportunities are available for the investors. Opex 2016 presents a key step forward to promote Omani products in the African continent. Opex Organising Committee, which comprises Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE), Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Ithraa), and Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), aspires to witness positive outcomes from this exhibition through playing a pivotal role in stimulating trade exchange between the Sultanate and Ethiopia, which shall develop and expand trade activities of the local companies to the various markets worldwide.


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