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Ethiopia: Hawassa Honours Successful Investors

In an investment performance race held 273Km south of Addis Abeba, 15 investors doing businesses in Hawassa Town were yesterday awarded by the town’s administration.

The second Investment Symposium, held over the weekend in the town’s Management Institute Hall, was an occasion that excited the 15 investors who have been officially recognized for their successful business undertakings in the town, Zeleke Kebede, head of the Administration’s Information and Public Relations Desk, told Fortune.

The investors, who were awarded for their exceptional performances, are engaged in industry, agriculture, health, education, hotels and tourism, as well as market centres development.

The day-long event was also expected to include a report by Desta Daniel, mayor of the town, on the general investment activities in the town, followed by a discussion on how to bridge the gap that exists between the administration and the investors in the town.

Investment activity in Hawassa has experienced different problems caused by both the administration and the investors themselves, according to Zeleke. Problems related to land for investment and licensing are what the administration needs to work on to solve, while those related to failure to keeping promises made on investment proposals, and starting investment activities in time after receiving land, are what the investors need to find solutions to.

Besides Desta, participants in the event included Genale Hedana his deputy and head of the Trade and Industry Office, department heads of the town administration, and investors in the town. The Ethiopian Investment Agency was the Federal Government agency invited to the Investment Symposium.

It is not the first time that the Hawassa Town Administration has awarded its investors in recognition for their contribution to the town’s development; in a similar symposium last year, the Administration awarded 15 other investors.

Even though it is just two years since Hawassa officially began honouring its successful investors, the inflow of investment to the lake-side town, particularly in the hotel and tourism sector – has shown a significant increase recently.

For instance, in the six months from September 2008 to March 2009, the administration gave the go-ahead to about 146 investment projects with an aggregate registered capital of more than 1.6 billion Br, Zeleke said. According to the proposals for investment, more than 11,000 people will get jobs when the projects go operational.

- By ADDISU DERESSE | Addis Fortune