Syrians businessmen find safe heaven in Addis

During the Christmas holiday exhibition at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Center one thing was visible- the presence of quite a number of Syrian exhibitors. The Syrians were trading from textile to jewelry and housing appliances. And most of them were pleased with the business.

Since the civil war broke out 22 month before, Syria is associated with war and destruction. According to the United Nations reports more than 60,000 people have been killed and around 2.5 million displaced in the country. The conflict has forced a large number of Syrians to leave their home and seek safe heavens elsewhere.

Welid Khalid Absi, 37, is from Damascus. He has been traveling through different African nations including Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Egypt, South Africa and even Libya to sell men’s wear collection. He was one of the Syrian participants in the Christmas exhibition in Addis last December 2012 and early January. Mohammed Hani, 38 trades jewelries. He shares a similar story. Both of them move around several African nations to sell their products and support their families back home.

Century promotion services, the company that organized the event has paid around 3.5 million birr for the Exhibition Center and Market Development Enterprise, according to Zewge Jemaneh, General Manager of the company. The event which was visited by an average of 10,000 people daily was able to attract more than 326 exhibitors. Out of this number 32 were from abroad who come through agents and the majority of these were from Syria.

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