Recently, the influx of investors in Ethiopia from different parts of the world is increasing from time to time. In this regard, our guest is one of the Indian investors who assimilated with the Ethiopian society. Abdul Salam Abdul Rahiman, the proprietor of Bell Industry PLC, is from a large and well-to-do family in India. He is an educationalist, a lawyer, an industrial consultant and an investor. The Ethiopian Herald had a short stay with him with a view to familiarizing his feelings, ideas and thoughts on Ethiopia. Enjoy reading!
Why did you make Ethiopia your first choice?
Before coming to Ethiopia, I was in different African countries and other countries in the world to discover the investment climate. In due course, when I assessed the situation in Ethiopia, I could not believe my eyes given that they were beyond my belief. Above and beyond, one of the most interesting things which attracted my attention was the peace and tranquillity of the country. Besides, not only the investment climate of the country is welcoming compared to others but also the people are known for their hospitality and generosity. Due to the aforesaid reasons, I made up my mind to work in Ethiopia.
What was your previous perception about Ethiopia?
Before I came to Ethiopia, I thought the peace and tranquillity of the country would be very difficult as I had a little knowledge about Ethiopia. But when I visited the country, I became conscious that I was completely wrong as there is peace in every nook and cranny of the country. The peace and tranquillity of the country was beyond my imagination. Besides, I did not imagine that the country would has good investment climate. Slowly but surely, when I evaluated the ins and outs of the country, I realized that I was in an amazing country and everything happens for a reason.
What is your take on the investment climate of Ethiopia?
To the best of my knowledge, the investment opportunity across the country is very high. Whenever I go to most government organization for various reasons, I get what I wish for almost immediately. Nowadays, the country is showered with many skilled manpower from various parts of the world following the suitable investment climate in the country. This being the case, the number of skilled manpower coming to Ethiopia together with investors has been transferring knowledge. I have the courage to say, this is the outcome of the unreserved efforts of the Ethiopian government. If the country keeps on going in this way, I do believe the number of investors and skilled manpower would rise across the country.
How do you see the development endeavour of the country?
At this point in time, Ethiopia is the fastest growing country in the world. There are attention grabbing roads across the country as the Ethiopian government is busy constructing and upgrading eye-catching trunk roads, link roads and the rest in different parts of the country. All the roads found in different parts of the country are beyond belief. Without any exaggeration, all the roads positioned in various parts of the country are by far better than the roads in India by reason of social issues of our country. To be honest, the Ethiopian infrastructure development is far above the ground.
I really appreciate the various development activities being carried out in various parts of the country. This reality on the ground signals that the country has a good future. I do hope if the country keeps going in the same pace, it will grow within the shortest time possible.
Nobody would deny the fact that the Ethiopian people would benefit a lot when their huge hydro-electric power dam constructions becomes functional. What is more, East African countries would benefit much form the hydroelectric dam. The hydroelectric power is one of the development gears of the country which takes the country to a new chapter of success. By the way, a month ago I was in Somaliland. To your surprise, the hydroelectric power of Ethiopia was the talk of the entire nation. They are looking forward for the actualization of the project.
What lesson do we learn from India?
In fact, India is a developed country. But the country did not reach overnight the level at which it is in at the present time. It is the result of hard work and determination. In fact, Ethiopia is also one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Actually, the incumbent is making history by making the impossible possible compared to some countries worldwide. It is really heading in the right direction because of the unreserved effort of the government.
The Indian experience is very different from what I know here in Ethiopia. But in our country you can start business anywhere exclusive of any license. They can do the business in their own residential houses because local permit will be issued by Kebele. By the same way, the Ethiopian government should come to the village level and organize everyone regardless of age and sex. For instance, you can start business from Kebele level by organizing 100 - 150 people.
What should be done to promote tourism in Ethiopia?
Without a shadow of doubt, tourism incorporates nearly all aspects of the society. It is vital to economic changes, human socio-cultural activities and environmental development and so forth. According to my view, Ethiopia is the luckiest country as it possesses a number of mesmerizing tourist attractions and many untapped resources in many parts of the country. During the Derg regime and before that, tourists were not interested to come to Ethiopia owing to lack of adequate infrastructure across the country. There were even finger counted facilities. Thanks to the incumbent, nowadays, there are countless eye catching hotels throughout the country.
To the best of my knowledge, some time ago, the terrible picture the country had also put in a lot to its low level of tourist inflow despite the country is the origin of mankind and posses a number of tangible and intangible heritages. To return to your question, in my opinion, in order to promote Ethiopian tourism the Ethiopian government should do some discount on air tickets for tourists because when they want to visit a certain country, they look for flights which give big discounts. If the government does this, the country in return would benefit a lot from tourists as they spend a lot of money on various purposes. In this fashion, the government can attract a number of tourists with no trouble. This technique is being used in most parts of the world.
How is the Ethiopian Airlines?
Ethiopian Airlines is well-known worldwide. It is known as the flag carrier. More often than not, the airlines is the pillar and backbone of most African countries. At this moment in time, its destinations are ever-increasing. Hence, they are connecting Africa together and making life easier by flying to more destinations in various parts of the world. The fag carrier has been harvesting the fruit of success every so often in this regard. The Ethiopian Airlines also makes money out maintenance and other related services.
How can we make Ethiopian youths creative?
Ethiopian youths should be able to develop money making mind set at earlier age. As for me, self moving mind is significant to make the youth fruitful in their lives. They do not know very well how to make money and turn out to be rich within the shortest time possible. They should be able to work long hours giving due weight and attention to make their future bread buttered well. They do not also busy themselves with the idea of making money without difficulty. Moreover, it is possible to make the youth creative by offering motivational training.
Ethiopia is due to celebrate the 26th anniversary of May 28. What is your take on this?
As I learnt from different sources, the Ethiopian people have suffered a lot during the previous regime. There was no stone they left unturned to obliterate the Derg regime once and for all. Sadly, the people of Ethiopia suffered a great deal. During the regime, mothers and fathers were crying their eyes out for their beloved ones for the regime was killing innocent people every so often. Unfortunately, the red and white terror of the time shuttered the hope of countless Ethiopians. The lives of most Ethiopians were above the dead and below the living at that moment in time.
But the TPLF soldiers in conjunction with other Ethiopians drawn from the different nations and nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia fought bravely the brutal war and demolished the regime from the face of the earth. They bravely fought to free the Ethiopian people from the chain of poverty and made their dream come true. They have paid a big price for the Ethiopian people in this regard. After the downfall of the Derg regime, the Ethiopian government designed new development strategies and set in motion taking the country to a new level of success. At this point in time, the country is turning out to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The construction industry is booming in every nook and cranny of the country.
To the best of my knowledge, May 28 is the manifestation of the various mega projects, infrastructures, industries as well as factories dotting every part of Ethiopia. It also signals the punctuated success journey of the Ethiopian government. At this time, the Ethiopian government is taking the country to a new chapter of success. What an amazing transformation! It is the area of new life and new change. I wish all Ethiopians a happy May 28!
As a final point, is there anything you would like to add or convey?
As I have tried to mention over and over again, Ethiopia is heading in the right direction. The government is the architect of development. Nobody can deny the fact that Ethiopia is on the right track at this point. Hence, all the Ethiopian people should stand on the side of the government as the country is now heading to the second phase of success. Ethiopia has a bright future. I accept as true that in the future everybody from every part of the world will flow to Ethiopia as the country would be one of the developed economies in the world. Therefore, the people of Ethiopia should work hand in glove to make the dream of the Ethiopian government becomes a reality.
BY ADDISALEM MUALT