The Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Secotal Associations has established smooth and Strong...
Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations/AACCSA/ has set a Trade and Investment Promotion Department that allows it carry out Addis Chamber International Trade Fairs. Hosting Addis Chamber International Trade Fairs was a task given to the Department years ago. The department was established to carry out the then envisioned duties such as staging trade fairs, gathering trade information and organizing outbound trade missions and host inbound ones. The Department, as one important organ of the chamber, showcased the first Addis Chamber International Trade Fair in 1995.
The primary purpose undertaking trade fairs until the 8thedition of Addis Chamber International Trade Fair was to generate income for AACCSA. It trailed to stage subsequent Addis Chamber International Trade Fairs with that purpose in mind. Indeed it was very successful in bringing foreign direct investment to the country as well as supplementing AACCSA’s expenditure until a paradigm shift in emphasis from mere income generation to promoting trade and investment and the country’s image was made from the 9th edition.
The last a number of Trade fairs have, with no doubt, benefited the country in promoting its visibility in the international arena. They have also created opportunities for the Ethiopian business community to obtain advantages from international experience and thereby access to technology transfer.
The Trade and Investment promotion Department embraced exhibiting sector focused trade fairs since 2005. One of such fairs is an agriculture and food specific trade fair called Agrifex. The rationale behind showcasing this agriculture and food focused trade fair was to foster Ethiopia’s untapped agricultural potential to the rest of the world on the one hand and expose it to proven best practices from around the world. Another sector focused trade fair the chamber started only a few years ago is the Tourism and Travel Fair. The major objective of hosting such a fair is because tourism is a most promotable but least tapped potential in Ethiopia where there are marvelous historical, cultural and religious tourist attraction sites. AACCSA has strategically intervened in this sector to strengthen the very limited efforts the Ethiopian government has been doing in promoting the Ethiopian tourism industry.
The Trade and Investment Promotion Department of AACCSA has been doing well in organizing Addis Chamber International Trade Fair, Agrifex and the infant Tourism Fair. The stages have played significant roles in creating opportunities to the business community, in increasing Ethiopia’s visibility in the globe and in soliciting income to ACCSA.
Taking the rich experience the Trade and Investment Promotion Department has developed over the years into account; the chamber is convinced that it can do better than it is doing now. Accordingly, the Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations has decided to start organizing an international trade fair on Manufacturing and Technology beginning June, 2016. This decision of the Chamber tallies with the policy shift of the Ethiopian Government from Agriculture led economy to that of Industry based economic development.
As per the Chamber’s five year Strategic Plan two key result areas constitute the substratum of the departments operations, namely business development service and institutional capacity building. In this regard, the Department will continue to provide core/traditional/ trade fair services and value added/beyond traditional/ trade fair services.
The core/traditional/ trade fair services include organizing various trade fairs and exhibitions, participate in overseas trade fairs and exhibitions, manage available exhibition complexes in Addis Ababa and other regional cities by entering into contractual agreement and working through partnership, establish a dedicated trade fair window for small and medium scale units and open regional offices in the country to ensure concerted trade promotion drive throughout the country, establish overseas offices in major international cities to enhance Ethiopia’s Trade and investment, organize buyer-seller meets and arrange product displays for visiting overseas buyers.
Value added services include the provision of timely and efficient services to overseas buyers in tender identification, drawing itineraries, fixing appointments and even accompanying them where required, assistance of local companies in product development and adaptation to meet buyers’ requirements, establishment of durable contacts between Ethiopian suppliers and overseas buyers, owning and securing basic infrastructure as well as marketing and information facilities, promotion of Ethiopian industrial design globally, organization of seminars/conferences on trade related subjects, conducting in-house and need based research on trade and export promotion, operation of a trade portal having all trade related information including country profiles, product profiles, trade directory, etc.
Structurally the department has been one of the operation units of the Chamber accountable to the Deputy Secretary General for Business and Development and having its own sections in charge of affairs pertaining to research, registration and customers’ service, logistics and finance and administration. Each section has as sufficient number of staff as are required by the volume of work in each section.
The department has been endowed with a mission to basically organize general and specialized international trade fairs on yearly basis and be involved in all activities that buttress the promotion of trade and investment. There are potentially positive factors to enable it meet its mission such as growing economy, Addis Ababa’s place as international and continental diplomatic hub, prevalence of peace and security, hospitable culture and weather, growing public awareness of trade fairs, potential to work with regional chambers, growing number of foreign companies interested in participating in trade fairs, potential to forge more partnership, AU’s new strategy of promoting intra-Africa trade, etc.
In the long term the department targets its overall strategic objective and draws best practices and key challenges during short-term implementation periods to enrich and expand its services. Some of its key functions and core competencies include (but not limited to):