Omani firms expect business deals at exhibition in Ethiopia
Muscat: Omani companies taking part in the Omani Products Exhibition (Opex) 2016, scheduled to take place in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa from April 11 to 14, have high potential to sign contracts with companies in Africa, an official of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) said.
“There is a good chance a major part of the companies will be able to sign contracts with African companies,” Ayman Abdullah Al Hassani, deputy chairman of OCCI and head of Opex Committee told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting held on Tuesday between the organisers of the exhibition and companies participating in Addis Ababa.
He said that Ethiopia has been chosen since it is one of the stable and fastest growing economies in Africa. In addition, Ethiopia is a member of Comesa (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa), a cooperation of 19 countries in the region.
“We believe that there is a very good market to promote Omani products. There is a big potential for us, not only to promote our products, but also to find opportunities for joint ventures with Ethiopian companies,” he said.
Establishing joint-ventures with Ethiopian companies in the sectors of agriculture, leather, coffee and livestock will be particularly interesting to Oman. “These are some of the best Ethiopian products we can bring to Oman,” Al Hassani said.
Ethiopia is also interesting to Omani food and agricultural companies since food and agriculture are important sectors in Ethiopia. “They import a lot of food from all over the world and this is a big opportunity for companies in the food sector,” Al Hassani said.
Al Hassani said that 105 Omani companies will represent a number of sectors, including food, pharmaceuticals, building materials, furniture and handicrafts. He said that the organisers have invited countries that are member of Comesa, like Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan to take part in the exhibition. Also, a number of Omani startups will be present at Opex.
Khalfan Al Khatira, representing Riyada, told the ‘Times of Oman’ that 15 Omani small and medium enterprises (SMEs), all less than five years old, will be participating in Opex. He said that these SMEs are mainly into dates, perfumes, ceramics, steel, plastics and industry.
Opex was established in 2012 to encourage exports of Omani non-oil products all over the world. It is organised by a joint committee comprising OCCI, Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development(Ithraa) and Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE).
While the first three editions were all in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, exhibitors of the last edition in Jeddah voted in favour of Addis Abeba, Al Hassani explained. It is now the first time the exhibition will be held outside the GCC region.