The Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (AACCSA) has created a new virtual model of training to assist its member companies during the pandemic. The online trainings were prepared in partnership with the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECCI) and cover topics such as international economics and finance, information technology, business ethics, and international business law. When companies successfully complete their trainings, ECCI will confer each participant with an internationally accredited Global Commerce License certificate.
In addition to offering new online trainings, the AACCSA has also been busy listening to member needs and developing COVID-19 exit strategies to bring the nation’s economy back on track. The Chamber released a proposal on how the private sector can work to curtail the pandemic, as well as a catalog with policy initiatives that will help cushion industries from its economic effects. Among these proposed initiatives: additional tax relief for affected industries, the securing of imports of raw materials, the temporary suspension of exports of essential agricultural goods, the lowering of interest rates, and the price regulation of goods in extreme demand. The Chamber also played a facilitating role in the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development’s pledge to provide financial support for measures undertaken by privately owned companies that significantly alleviate some of the negative impacts of the pandemic in Ethiopia. Suitable projects will be funded with up to 200,000 EUR.
The Chamber has also taken on a prominent role in disseminating communications that promote economic and pandemic recovery. For example, they prepared and dispatched a summary report of the pandemic’s effect on the private sector, COVID-19 Impact on the Economy and Business: Lessons on Necessary Actions for Businesses. The Chamber has also produced news spots, advertisements, and programs on the importance of the participation of the business community and associations in fighting and controlling COVID–19, including awareness programs from prominent voices in the business community. Additionally, the Chamber has developed and disseminated promotional and educational videos and audio recordings to fight the epidemic directly.
The AACCSA has completed sensitization tasks on the importance of corporate social responsibility and handed out protective and essential sanitary materials such as soaps and hand sanitizers to local businesses. The Chamber has developed brochures and newspapers to advertise the recommended policy initiatives to galvanize wide support.
The information, education, and communication materials on COVID-19 developed at the Chamber are available to be shared by members in mainstream and social media. The Chamber has also completed regular communication updates on COVID-19 and its evolving implications for business, sharing experiences and lessons pulled from businesses in different countries. Addis Chamber TV, radio, and newspapers have undertaken a 360-degree media campaign to further broadcast these messages on critical issues in the business community during and post-pandemic as they begin to look towards recovery.