Ethiopian Business Review

Towards a Vibrant Private Sector

7th CEOS Forum Discusses Economic Reform

Alarming public debt, foreign currency shortage, inflationary pressure, shortages of finance to the private sector and creating job opportunities were the major talking points of the seventh Ethiopian Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Forum held on June 12, 2019 at Sheraton Addis Hotel, and organized by Precise Consult. The forum focused on the Economic Reform Program, recently adopted by the council of ministers.

Dagmawit Moges (second from right), minister of Transport; Abebeb Abebayehu (far right), commissioner of the Ethiopia Investment Commission; and Eyob Tekalegn (PhD) (far left), state minister for Finance, all spoke at the forum, which was attended by about one hundred executives from the private and public sector.

The four young technocrats, who were chosen for office by the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD), described policy reforms which will focus on fixing macroeconomic woes resulting from the previous administration’s system.

Mamo Mehiretu (second from left), senior advisor and chief trade negotiator to the Prime Minister,, also said that the recent economic policy reforms have focused on correcting macroeconomic imbalances and distortions created by previous growth drives. While the forum discussion was mainly focused on the government’s economic reforms, the officials pledged that measures would be taken to give the private sector more space in the economy.

As part of the economic reform measures, the progress of the privatization process of state owned enterprises was also discussed. Eyob, the state minister for Finance, stated that there won’t be a single formula for privatization, but that state owned enterprises will be reformed according to their existing status, to create world-class services.

Total privatization, joint venture or opening up the sector for local and foreign competition might be pursued depending on the result of a study to be conducted in each sector. He expressed his hope that the country will be home to multiple telecom companies next year. “By this time next year, some of you may use different SIM cards,” Eyob said without going to detail. The investment commissioner also highlighted the reform taking place in revising the entire investment regime to create a more private sector friendly environment. He said that the government is working to address challenges that steam from the lack of intellectual property registration in the country.

The Ethiopia CEOs Forum brings together private sector executives, along with government officials and leaders of international development agencies. It is an annual forum initiated and led by Henok Assefa (center), Managing Partner of Precise Consult.

8th Year • Jun.16 - July.15 2019 • No. 75


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