ADDIS ABABA-- The recent decision of the government to open State-owned enterprises (SOEs) to private investors has inspired multinational companies to invest in Ethiopia, says the Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), Dr. Belachew Mekuria,

He told the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) that a number of multinational companies had shown interest to invest in areas which the government promised to open up for private sector investment.

The government announced in June that it will open SOEs to private local and foreign investors. Ethiopian Airlines, the national flag carrier, and ethio telecom, the sole telecommunications service provider of the country, are among the enterprises to be opened for private investors.

The railways, power utilities, sugar plants, industrial parks, hotels, shipping and logistic services will also be opened for private investors.

The decision of opening SOEs to private investment and the lifting of the state of emergency in the country have also raised the interest of multinational companies. As a result, all industrial parks that are operational are almost fully occupied by investors over the past three months.

During the past three months, every industrial park is being fully occupied. The industrial park like Kombolcha is almost packed and the Mekele industrial park is receiving various investments, while Adama is on the verge of its completion apart from energy connection; some investors have even started to train their staff abroad. Some investors also requested us to engage them in Dire Dawa industrial park as well, he stated.

He stressed that building a strong economy and strengthening investment could be a reality when a country ensures its peace and stability domestically as well as establishes peaceful ties with neighbouring countries, something which the new government has done.

The country's efforts in improving ties with neighbouring and other countries as well as normalizing the relationship with Eritrea will have a positive impact on the country, he underlined.

Peace and stability is the prior element of a countrys investment and would play a crucial role. In this regard, Ethiopia has enjoyed relative peace and stability compared with other African countries. So the recent peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea, which ended the no-war, no-peace situation between the two countries, would play its own role on attracting investment, Belachew assured.

Since the ability to transport goods quickly, economically and reliably is vital for an investment to flourish and companies to compete in global market, Ethiopia's logistic system is the major constraint for investors. The

Ethiopian logistics system is characterized by poor logistics management system and lack of co-ordination of goods transport, and inadequate fleets of freight vehicles.

Belachew believes that the recent decision by the government to privatize the logistic sector will resolve the challenge in this regard and inspire global companies.

Any investment relays on the trust on the given environment. So trust and confidence is critical for investors to come to the country. The base for trust and confidence is stability and security. Will my resource be secured? That is trust and confidence based investment which begins from security of a person. From this perspective, the results gained in a short period of time are a good foundation for the investment in flow, he said.

According to Belachew, the results gained during the past three months are crucial in attracting more foreign direct investment (FDI).