Netherlands Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

From Aid to Trade

Over the past decade Ethiopia has achieved high economic growth. The country’s emphasis on agricultural transformation and its strong expansion of public investment have delivered impressive results. With the rise of the industrial sector (light manufacturing, mining), significant changes in Ethiopia’s economy are to be expected. However, the agriculture sector will still remain most prominent, and offer many opportunities for intensified economic cooperation in a number of agribusiness subsectors.

The Embassy plays an active role in advising and supporting Dutch companies and has attracted new Dutch and other foreign investors. Since 2004 many Dutch companies started joint ventures in Ethiopia, bringing the total to about 100. As most of these companies are active in the agricultural sector, the Embassy provides support to some of the most important agribusiness subsectors, like the flowers-, vegetables- and fruit sector, sesame and dairy.

In addition, support is provided to the development of several promising subsectors, like poultry, potato, soy, spices and aquaculture , in close cooperation with the recently established Agribusiness Support Facility. This aligns well to the Dutch ‘Topsectors’ Agro & Food and Horticulture & Planting Material. As much as possible, the Embassy is combining available central (HQ) funds and networks with its bilateral activities.

With regard to agro-logistics, the Embassy explores new opportunities to deal with bottlenecks whilst making optional use of Dutch knowledge and experience. With regard to agro-financing, the embassy cooperates with Dutch banks, financial NGO’s and micro-finance institutions to explore the possibilities for improving services and increasing access to credit and other financial services for companies, cooperatives and small holders. The Embassy also provides direct support to Dutch companies in Ethiopia through individual hands-on support, in cooperation with the ABSF (Agricultural Business Support Facility) and the ENLBA (Ethio Netherlands Business Association).

The Embassy promotes CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and inclusive economic development, especially within the context of exporter/processor and outgrowers relations; in this respect attention is paid to aspects such as micro-finance and voucher systems, crop insurance, IT and capacity building as well as linking Dutch growers with Ethiopian knowledge institutes and producer organizations.

Finally, the links between the development portfolio and trade and investment will be more and more strengthened; specific interventions under the Rule of Law Portfolio will address obstacles in the business climate.