Public and private partners, donors and international agencies agree on a roadmap for Ethiopia's stronger integration into global trade

Addis Ababa, 24 February 2016

Representatives of the national Government, public and private institutions, donors and international organizations met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 23 to 24 February 2016 for a two‑day workshop to discuss the results of the Update of the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) for Ethiopia and validate the priority actions to address opportunities and constraints for Ethiopia's better integration into the global trading system.

The DTIS is one of the cornerstones of the support that the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF): Trade for LDC development provides to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) like Ethiopia.

The first DTIS for Ethiopia was conducted in 2003 and identified priority actions focusing on trade policies and measures that were integrated into the Plan for Accelerated and Sustainable Development to End Poverty (2005-2010), including infrastructure, investment, trade facilitation, transport and manufacturing.

The EIF-funded DTIS Update (DTISU) was conducted in 2015 by the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) with a view to contributing to Ethiopia's Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) for 2016-2020.

"This DTIS is particularly timely, because it will contribute to trade policy-making and to create a trade integration mechanism, as the country embarks into an industrial strategy aimed at structurally transforming Ethiopia from a rural agrarian-based to a manufacture-based economy. In its Action Matrix, the DTIS identifies areas for capacity building to be implemented by the Government of Ethiopia and will serve as a tool to effectively implement the Growth and Transformation Plan", said H.E. Mr Yakob Yalla, Ethiopia's Minister of Trade, during the DTISU Validation Workshop's opening ceremony.

The DTISU addresses the key challenges that the Government and the private sector must tackle to advance the integration of the Ethiopian economy into international trade, such as the need for a comprehensive trade strategy and for the coordination of all trade-related policies and measures to enhance efficiency and trade competiveness of domestic private firms to successfully integrate into international value chains. It also addresses the specific challenges of the priority sectors of Ethiopia's agricultural development-led export-oriented industrialization strategy, looking in particular at the ones with the greatest potential for rapid export growth, such as agro-food processing, textiles and clothing, leather and leather goods.

"The DTIS provides an important analysis of the key constraints and makes very concrete suggestions on the way forward to better integrate Ethiopia into the global trading system and promote trade for development through export diversification and reforms that will continue to enhance productivity, value addition and competiveness. We do hope that the DTIS Action Matrix will help us in the identification and further development of bankable trade-related projects that would be of interest to all fellow development partners. As the EIF Donor Facilitator, the EU is fully committed to support the implementation of the DTIS process in Ethiopia", said Ms Terhi Lehtinen, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union and EIF Donor Facilitator in Ethiopia.

Speaking at the Workshop's opening session, UNCTAD Secretary-General, Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, reminded of the role of UNCTAD as EIF Partner Agency and emphasized the strong link between the challenge of increasing trade and export competiveness and the imperative of increasing national productive capacity through capital accumulation, technological progress and improved domestic production and marketing structures.

On behalf of the Executive Director of the Executive Secretariat for the EIF, Ms Christiane Kraus, Chief Coordinator at the Executive Secretariat for the EIF, commended the Ethiopian Government for the leadership demonstrated in advancing Ethiopia's trade and development agenda and the country's regional and global integration through the Continental Free Trade Area and the WTO accession process. She also welcomed the important participation of representatives of the donor community led by the European Union as a strong signal of their commitment to accompany the implementation of the trade-related priority of Ethiopia's GTP II.

The DTISU Validation Workshop was the culmination of a very participative national process, whereby stakeholders from the public and private sectors and the donors had the opportunity to initially agree on its content and provide feedback and inputs on the preliminary results in the course of the study. During the two days, participants analyzed the findings and recommendations of the DTISU and agreed on the priorities indicated in the Action Matrix, a roadmap to help the Ethiopian Government identify actions and reforms derived from the diagnostic analysis and engage in their implementation through dialogue and coordination with Ethiopia's development partners.

KEYWORDS: Ethiopia