Manufacturing industries in Ethiopia remain to be the most promising and lucrative sectors for foreign investors, says head of the top local consulting firm.
As the import of manufactured goods such as, pharmaceuticals and agro-processed products have been continuously growing in Ethiopia, substituting the goods by manufacturing in Ethiopia will benefit the foreign investors, according to Solomon Gizaw, Managing Partners and one of the founders of HST Consulting, the largest investment consulting and accounting firm that has been in the market for close to two decades.
“If foreign investors are coming to substitute imported items, they benefit significantly,” Mr. Solomon said, in an exclusive interview with New Business Ethiopia. “There are a lot of attractive investment sectors in Ethiopia…With over 110 million population, Ethiopia has a growing demand especially for consumer goods. You can sell anything as long of you produce goods required by the market it has amazing potential,” he says.
“This country imports more than 85 percent of pharmaceutical products and huge volume of agro-processed goods. I advise foreign clients to invest on sectors that have significant potential on import substitution,” he says, mentioning that the government has been providing enormous incentives for investors interested to engage in priority sectors.
With over 150 full time staff, HST Consulting has been in investment consulting, business, HR and accounting advisory business for the past 17 years. The annual revenue of HST Consulting has surpassed 100 million birr, according to Mr. Solomon, who indicated that this will make the company the biggest local investment advisory in Ethiopia.
From 2012 to 2017, HST was merged with one of the world’s largest investment advisory Deloitte. Then the two companies separated in July 2017 after Deloitte Africa changed the initial terms and proposed another term for HST, according to Mr. Solomon, who stated that in September 2017, HST Consulting bought a local training company and expanded its services.
Currently HST Consulting is providing various services from financial auditing to human resources to tax and business support including executive leadership development.
Ethiopia’s import annual bill over the past year has been increasing approaching $18 billion in recent year, while its export remains around $3 billion per annum. in 2017/18 budget year, 34.5 % of total imports ($5.27 billion) was spent on capital goods and 31% ($4.7 billion) on consumer goods, according to the annual Report of the National bank of Ethiopia.