“With a growing economy, Ethiopia is a country that offers many business opportunities. There are reasons why we should consider organizing an economic mission in this country, in the context the African continent is a priority for the Czech republic in the years to come”, said Mr. Marian Jurecka, Minister of Agriculture of the Czech Republic, in the opening of the Ethio-Czech Business Forum and business to business meeting held in Addis Ababa on  july 24,2017.

The event was organized by the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations and Embasy of the czech republic . About 100 members of the Ethiopian business comunity have been participated during the Business to business meetings.

17 Czech companies were in Addis looking for Ethiopian business partners. This group of respected business persons have concluded functioning business deals with our members. The two countries have close to a century old political and economic relations. However, one cannot find it to the expected magnitude.  However; it is a matter of fact that the two countries have been proceeding with cultural and social aspects for many years.

The official session of the Ethio-Czech Republic Business Forum was honored by the presence of the state minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the FDRE,Dr. Kaba Urgessa , who sent a message to the Czech delegation from the ministry leadership. He said business communities of both sides need to refresh their potentials and resources to make use of the opportunities laid out in this Business to Business seminar as part of enhancing the trade and investment partnership.

Ethiopia and Czech are countries with long years of diplomatic relations. The bilateral relationship goes back many years and is being strengthened continuously.

Diplomatic relations in fact were established in the 1950s and since then the relations between Czech and Ethiopia has had their ups and downs. In fact Ethiopia and Czech Republic have enjoyed a historic relation dating back to the second half of the 18th century, and hence the relation is at the backdrop of remarkable historical reminiscences.

Due to the presence in Ethiopia of the Czech missionary, Václav Remedius Prutký (1751-1753), who was followed by a number of other travelers at the end of the 19th century, the Czech lands have had a long history of contact with Ethiopia.

Václav Remedius Prutký was a Czech who spent two years in the Ethiopian Highlands and left behind his writings for us to study. Unfortunately, the personal accounts of his travels across Ethiopia remained largely unknown to the broader public due to the success of James Bruce’s Travels to Discover the Sources of the Nile.

The relationship during the 1950s was mainly determined by the establishment of the Czechoslovak embassy in 1955, which made a significant contribution to the strengthening of mutual ties. This trend reached its zenith in 1959, when Emperor Haile Selassie I visited Prague in order to negotiate the general conditions for a series of treaties deepening the level of political, economic and cultural cooperation. The historical visit of the Emperor to Czech in that year was as a milestone in diplomatic history of the two countries.

The first main Czechoslovak commercial project to be undertaken in Ethiopia after World War II was the construction of an ammunition factory in Addis Ababa. The ammunition factory was also the first facility where Czech experts were used for both the construction work and in the training of local workers.

Even by the early 1960s, an experimental farm, Ciaffa, had been established in order to explore new approaches to agriculture. Other concrete examples of Czechoslovak assistance in the development of Ethiopian industry include the hydroelectric dam, Melka Wakana, a textile factory in Kombolcha, the construction of a new military hospital, breweries in Harar and Bedele, the development of vineyards, and the sending of several dozen medical doctors to Ethiopia.

In spite of all these good beginnings however, the current trade and economic relations between the two countries is not to the satisfactory level.

Trade between the two countries during the period, 2010-2016, is worth USD 146 million.  Although the trade balance seems to slightly favor Czech Republic where Czech’s export to Ethiopia exceeds its import by USD of 21 million during the same period, the trade relations still remains very low compared to the potential we all have.

Some of the major goods exported to Czech Republic include: coffee and Kidney beans. On the other hand, the major imported commodities from Czech include: Bridges and bridge sections, Processing units, Cans, iron or steel, Aircraft launching gear, Aircraft parts and other industrial products. The fact that the trade relation between the two countries has significantly increased by 2014 with a growth rate of 200% is a promising picture to envisage better performances in the future.

In 2007, this month both countries have signed a Convention on Avoidance of Double Taxation.  However, the convention has not been exploited to the best operators of both sides.

The Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations is employing a number of business development instruments to enhance Ethiopia’s trade and investment ties with countries in the European Union, including Czech Republic.