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Over 50 Indian cos to join Ethiopian trade fair

More than 50 Indian companies are expected to participate in the 18th Addis Ababa International Trade Fair in Addis Ababa on August 24-September 10. Forty-four companies had participated in the last edition of the fair and India now wants an entire hall to itself for the event.

"Since the number of companies attending the exhibition from India is increasing every year, they wanted to have a separate space," a fair organiser told media.

"Since we are interested in bringing more companies and more Indian products to Addis Ababa, we have no issues with the money," said Parmod Rai Sood, a manager with the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) that is facilitating the participation of Indian companies at the event.

"Our biggest problem during trade fairs is the lack of appropriate space for Indian companies' products," Sood told agency.

During the trade fairs held so far, Indian companies have presented a variety of products like textiles, plastics, medicines, metal products and furniture to showcase in eastern Africa.

Sood said Indian companies "want to break through to Ethiopia's market in every aspect since we understand the potential for Indian products".

Trade between the two countries touched USD 500 million in 2012. Ethiopia exports pulses, oil seeds and spices, while India exports iron and steel products, drugs and machinery.

Economic and commercial relations between India and Ethiopia can be traced back to 2,000 years ago.

Indian companies have been investing in Ethiopia since 1990 and are involved in the engineering, agricultural, plastics and pharmaceutical sectors.

India is one of the largest foreign investors in Ethiopia with approved investment of USD 4.7 billion. As many as 596 Indian companies secured investment licences in the country during 1992-2011, according to the Indian embassy in Addis Ababa.

In recent years, business ties between the two countries have grown significantly, especially in infrastructure projects like roads, power, telecommunications and water resources.