Muscat: There are ample opportunities for Omani exporters in the Ethiopian market. A study conducted in 2013 identified almost 60 thrust products that have the potential to establish a strong market share in Ethiopia including food, stone, pharmaceuticals, cable, aluminium and plastics.
The study was conducted by Advanced Business Consultants in association with the Addis Ababa-based Sub Saharan Africa Research and Training Centre. The market research included one-on-one meetings with Omani exporters in target sectors to map product specifications and capacities in addition to a comprehensive primary survey carried-out in Ethiopia over a four month period.
"It's these impressive results that sparked our interest, and as a result we commissioned an Ethiopian market study which predicts further economic momentum and points to some outstanding opportunities for Omani exporters," Nasima Al Balushi, Ithraa's Director General of Export Development said.
"Although over 80 per cent of Ethiopia's population is rural, its urban population is growing twice as fast as the rural. Over half of Ethiopia is under the age of 20. It's this young, university educated and relatively wealthy group that controls about 25 per cent of all income and it's a highly aspirational consumer group that's looking for new products. This is what excites us," added Al Balushi.
Africa is home to six of the top 10 fastest growing countries in the world. It is fast becoming integrated into the global economy and offers Omani exporters unprecedented economic opportunities.
"Now is the time to step in and capture a share of Africa's rising middle class," she further added.
Boosted by domestic demand and an increase in private and public investment, African economies are expected to sustain high levels of economic growth over the next decade. And experts expect that rising incomes will lead to higher consumer spending which is projected to almost double over the next 10 years. One country in Africa that has caught Ithraa's eye is Ethiopia.
Attended by leading Omani exporters and manufacturers in Sohar, the first Ithraa workshop provided attendees with an in-depth assessment of the Ethiopian economy, its imports and tax system as well as financial and political stability. It also highlighted market demand and trends, especially in the light of Ethiopia's recent infrastructure boom.