Ethiopia getting set to host Opex 2016 for first time in Africa

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Muscat: Preparations are in full swing for the Omani Products Exhibition (Opex) 2016, scheduled to take from April 11 to 14, at Millennium Hall, in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa, under the auspices of the Ethiopian minister of finance and economic development.

Dr Ali bin Mas’oud Al Sunaidi, Oman’s minister of commerce and industry, in addition to government officials will be present at the exhibition.

Ayman Al Hasani, vice-chairman for economic and branches affairs at Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), and head of the Opex Organising Committee said that more than 100 Omani firms are set to participate in Opex 2016 representing various industries including natural resources, minerals, wood products, manufacturing products, furniture, food, medical and pharmaceuticals, fertilisers, plastic and metal equipment, perfume, leather, and logistics.

Al Hasani added that Opex will be held for the first time outside the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states following the success of previous Opex events held in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

“An integrated plan has been put in place to facilitate logistics, customs and other related issues for the participants,” Al Hasani affirmed. “This event represents one of the major steps to promote Omani products in the African continent.

The Organising Committee aspires to promote the Sultanate’s industrial sectors in Ethiopia and Africa through strengthening partnerships with various regional and international institutions. Additionally, the committee seeks to play a pivotal role in stimulating trade movement between the Sultanate and Ethiopia, which eventually develop businesses of local companies and expand their trade to various regional and global markets,” he pointed out.

“Opex 2016 seeks to develop mutual objectives of the two governments and deepen comprehensive partnership, in addition to opening up prospects for further cooperation among similar companies in Oman and Ethiopia, and increasing the volume of trade exchange between the two countries,” Al Hasani added.

Nasima Al Balushi, Ithraa director general of Export Development, emphasised that Addis Ababa was chosen to be the destination of Opex 2016 following studies been conducted to determine the added value and the advantages of East African markets in general and the Ethiopian market in particular.

“Ithraa, which is one of the bodies that form OPEX Organising Committee, in addition to OCCI and Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE), has implemented a marketing study on the Ethiopian market to provide comprehensive facts on the market in order to familiarise the Omani exporters, and on the other hand brief the exporters in Ethiopia on the promising Omani products. The study indicated that there are significant opportunities for Omani exporters to benefit from in the fast growing Ethiopian market,” Al Balushi added.

Al Balushi explained that based on the results of the study, an Omani trade delegation held b2b meetings, in Addis Ababa in an effort to strengthen and develop the volume of Omani non-oil exports to the Ethiopian market, find promising opportunities and deals, and boost trade relations with Ethiopia in line with the plan to develop non-oil Omani origin products.

“A group of Omani companies, which participated in these meetings achieved a number of deals. Around 50 per cent of Omani exporters assigned a commercial agent for their products in Ethiopia on day one of the business to business meetings. Besides, one of the companies signed a MoU with one of the major importing Ethiopian companies for foodstuff. These positive results following the b2b meetings have encouraged Opex Organising Committee to choose Addis Ababa as the destination of Opex 2016,” Al Balushi noted.


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