By Yared Gebremeden
These days our world is intertwined with strong connection in all aspects including business and investment. We are living in a more hyper connected world than ever.
Be it virtual or a kind of business interaction that demands the presence of people which engage them physically, it is beneficial to share experience, build up capacity, mutual understanding, enhance competitiveness and at the end of the day reach in the path of development.
Centering this objective, most nations in the world today have established local business groups that assist potential investors and business people in many ways. Among these, a business network, which comprises 30 members and known as ‘German- Ethiopia Business Network’ is undertaking various activities in Ethiopia. To mention specifically, it is actively undertaking construction solution and consultation activities in Ethiopia.
Alem Tesfai, an Ethiopian-born German citizen, is the founder of this network. The Network as she stated, focuses on technological and business investments and aims at introducing and bringing new technologies and knowledge to Ethiopian construction industry.
According to Alem, her Business Network has a vision to create opportunities for business peoples of the two countries to have better understandings to start business and investments in the two nations. Now, her Business Network has finalized preparation to commence business through its sister Network Association in Ethiopia.
The Network, as she stated, gives due emphasis for environmental impact of business activities. In other words, it gives priority to running of an environmental friendly business. To be more clear, the construction target that the network has planned is working well through introducing latest technologies with value added quality which is fit to the Ethiopian environment.
The Network, with its German Construction Solution Consulting P.L.C (GEConSol Consulting PLC) has started its business after it signed MoU with the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) in 2014. And it is now working with the Ethiopian Defense Construction Enterprise aiming at transferring latest construction knowledge, skills, experiences, construction chemicals, equipment and products, she further said.
The construction solution has a support and collaboration from the ministry of Industry, universities including Mekelle, and science and technology departments and other stakes in the state as well, Alem highlighted.
According to the founder, potential investors of both countries, as they are novices to each countries policies, regulations, procedures, and working systems, may face challenges. In this regard, the Network is anticipated to fill such gaps on both sides.
Ethiopian construction sector since recent time is showing solid growth. Currently mega projects are under construction in the nation, Alem stated “So, we are here to make a big difference on the construction sector through utilizing latest construction solutions and technologies to the Ethiopian construction Industry.”
As Alem elaborated, the Business Network in its construction division will give focus to road and motorway construction. It has also a plan to engage in different construction activities including tunnel and sewerage system construction, dam reinforcements, slope reinforcements, landfill sites, access routes and other similar and related construction activities. The construction technology of the Network, according to her, is acid and salt resistant which can be used for any soil type.
Gerry Froese is an expert in the construction sector. Currently, he is working on the Adgudem-Mekelle-Wuquro Pilot Road Project which is carried out under the close partnership of GEConSol Consulting PLC and Defense Construction Enterprise.
He said, “At the moment, we are proving the reliability, flexibility and high standard construction technologies and solutions at the project.”
According to him, the GEConSol Consulting PLC is here to transfer knowledge, skills and technologies. “The Ethiopian engineers whom we are working with are qualified with a high level of knowledge and skills in the field. This would enable us to work together in the future.”
The other investor, Dr Bishaw Benti, an American citizen, Ethiopian by birth, is the owner of Excel-Agro Industry P.L.C.
His Company is working with the objectives of cattle fattening, slaughtering, processing and exporting to the Middle East countries and beyond. But now he is giving a due focus to shift his live animal exporting to processing. Thus, he aspires to establish a strong joint business venture which will gradually promote to aggro-industry by constructing modern and European standard slaughter house that adds value in the aggro-processing business. To this effect, he is making efforts to develop his business through creating joint venture business networks with the Hungarian investors.
“One aspect of this business network or joint venture is to have a huge investment in a way to tap the livestock potential of the nation through sharing the experience of expertise,” Dr. Bishaw stressed.
He capitalized that Ethiopia has not tapped well its livestock potential. In this regard, the business demands a huge company and financial input which called for a joint business venture network.
Hence, to conduct sound investment in every possible ways. creating strong business and investment networks as well as joint business ventures between and among nations, companies, investors and business people is crucial.
For this effect, the government along with stakeholders should work persistently.