Medeshi March 22, 2009
The Economist cancels conference with gov’t
BY HAYAL ALEMAYEHU
The Economist canceled Friday what would have been its first business conference with the government of Ethiopia scheduled to run under the theme “Realizing potential in one of sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest market” on March 23 and 24, it was learnt.
The cancellation of the conference came suddenly amidst high expectations and hopes that the event will serve as a ‘best and ideal’ platform to sell Ethiopia to foreign investors and high profile business executives, according to knowledgeable sources.
The Economist Conference canceled the event after it failed to reach an agreement concerning an article which was supposed to be included in the conference material, according to the event organizers.
“The government of Ethiopia has decided that it will no longer participate in the business roundtable,” the Economist Conference emailed to The Reporter. “The decision was made today [Friday] by the Ethiopian government after they had reviewed the Economist article we planned to include in the conference material. We have therefore decided to cancel the round table.”
The conference, about which much was talked amongst scholars and business executives both here in the country and outside, was meant to exchange ideas on Ethiopia’s investment climate and issues that matter to doing business in Ethiopia, according to the event organizers.
The major topics scheduled to be raised and discussed at the conference include whether Ethiopia could position itself as a regional hub for foreign investment, the effect of the global economic crisis on the country, the economic and business outlook for 2009 and 2010, whether domestic challenges, including infrastructure, low skills levels and corruption can be overcome to support investment and the prospects for tourism.
The key speakers were Prime Minster Meles Zenawi and five of his ministers, Eyesus Work Zafu, the Chairman of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, Abi Wolde Meskal, the director general of the Ethiopian Investment Authority, Zemedeneh Negatu, the managing partner of Ernst & Young, Ethiopia, among others.
Economist Conferences is a division of the Economist Intelligence Unit and a leading provider of international forums for senior executives seeking new insights into strategic issues, according to information posted at the its website.
These meetings include industry conferences, management events and government roundtables held around the world.