The closing ceremony of the 10th Specialized International Agriculture and Food Exhibition (AGRIFEX-ETHIOPIA) took place in a workshop on the theme ‘Bridge Financing and Working Capital Availability in Agro-processing Industry’. The day also included ‘best stand award’ program for exhibitors. The event took place at Hilton Addis on May 16, 2017.

The presenter started his presentation by explaining the concept ‘bridge finance’ and went on to describe situation business enterprises face in the country.

Bridge financing is a short-term loan to help companies. It is “an interim financing option used by companies and other entities to solidify their short-term position until a long-term financing option can be arranged.

There are 455 large and medium scale agro-processing manufacturing industries functioning. According to World Bank (2015) only 1.9 percent of these have access to loans; with medium enterprises being more credit constrained than micro and large enterprises.

In describing the financial situation in Ethiopia, the presenter mentioned some features of banking in the country. The Ethiopian banking sector is dominated by state-owned banks (CBE and DBE) and raised some pointers of this assertion. State bank claims 50.7 percent of capital accumulation, deposit share of 65.7 percent, and is price-leader in interest rates, among other things.

Collateral-based lending system, shortage of hard currency, access to finance mishaps, gaps regarding government policies and regulations, and low capacity of the private sector could also be mentioned as other challenges facing the finance service sector.

Following the presentation participants raised some issues and shared their opinions. The final part of the day’s program was an awarding ceremony for best stand exhibitors in which five companies received the awards.