The Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE) organized trade mission to Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland from October 17- 21, 2016. The trade missions in those two countries were led by H.E. Roman Tesfaye, First Lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE).
The trade mission to Sweden was organized in partnership with Chamber Trade Sweden and the Embassy of Ethiopia in Stockholm, Sweden while the trade mission to Helsinki, Finland was organized in partnership with Sisters in Charge International (SiCi) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.
The delegation on the trade missions consisted of member companies of CAWEE in the sectors of agribusiness (coffee & honey), textiles/hand weaving/home furnishing, leather (with a focus to fashion accessories), gemstones & jewelry and services. The delegation also consisted of representatives from two government organizations, the Federal Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency and the Food, Beverage and Pharmaceuticals Development Institute.
The trade mission in Stockholm, Sweden, October 17-18, 2016, started through a welcome luncheon hosted by H.E. Ambassador Woinshet Tadesse, Ambassador of Ethiopia to the Kingdom of Sweden and the rest of the Nordic countries.
During the lunch at the Ethiopian Embassy, Ambassador Woinshet welcomed all participants and expressed her happiness in hosting the Ethiopian delegation.
Following the lunch reception at the Embassy of Ethiopia, brief workshop was organized by Chamber Trade Sweden at the Mornington Hotel.
Presentations were made by Swedish speakers that came from the sectors of coffee and textiles/fashion accessories where participants were provided with basic information and data on how best to trade with Sweden.
The official opening of the trade mission, October 18, 2016, was hosted by Chamber Trade Sweden in the presence of H.E. First Lady Roman Tesfaye, H.E. Ambassador Bengt Carlsson from the Swedish Foreign Ministry, H.E. Woinshet Tadesse, potential buyers and other invited guests.
The event was officially opened by a welcoming remark made by Ms. Charlotte Kalin, CEO of Chamber Trade Sweden. The first speaker during the opening ceremony was H.E. Ambassador Bengt, where following him, H. E. Roman delivered her remarks, thanking all the concerned ones in receiving the Ethiopian delegation. She further underlined the opportunities that Ethiopia has for investment, encouraging potential buyers and partners to network with the Ethiopian delegation, encouraging all to do business with Ethiopia.
H.E. Ambassador Woinshet, in her remarks, welcoming all the Ethiopian delegation provided the investment opportunities, the different incentive schemes that Ethiopia is providing this time, encouraging all to invest in Ethiopia.
In her remarks, the Ambassador encouraged the Swedish potential buyers to meet the Ethiopian delegation, particularly on the time allocated for the B2B (Business two Business) meetings.
During the official opening, a Swedish buyer from a company Responsify and ESHI (partnering with a company based in Ethiopia producing leather accessories), Ms. Madeleine Rosberg shared her live experience of doing business in Ethiopia.
In providing brief background to the preparation of the trade mission and introducing the delegation members, Mrs. Nigest Haile, Founder and Executive Director of CAWEE gave her briefing. Mrs. Nigest provided the background on the trade mission to Sweden mentioning the trade mission that was prepared in 2015 in Oslo, Norway, which was an eye opener to the preparations to the trade missions to Sweden and Finland. She further introduced the delegation members and encouraged the Swedish potential buyers to meet the Ethiopian delegation.
Following the official opening, participants visited the mini-exhibition, the products of the Ethiopian delegation, where potential buyers got the opportunity to physically touch and see the products and meet the sellers.
From the delegation members, those involved in coffee visited one of the top Swedish Coffee Roasters, Johan & Nysztröm, as well as some retail chains in Sweden to assess the potential market opportunities. The rest of the delegation members involved in fashion accessories and home furnishing products visited a department store called NK’s located in the city center of Stockholm to be exposed to the Swedish and Nordic market customers’ needs.
The B2B and the company visits in Stockholm, Sweden were very instrumental for the Ethiopian delegation to explore the Swedish market, to get to know the taste of the Swedish buyers and also to physically meet and discuss with Swedish potential buyers.
The trade mission in Sweden was concluded with a dinner hosted by H.E. Ambassador Woinshet Tadesse at her residence. It was also time for votes of thanks and appreciation to the hosts of the delegation as well as the organizers of the trade mission.
The trade mission in Finland took place for two days, October 20-21, 2016. It was officially opened at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland in Helsinki by a welcoming remark from Ms. Eeva Alarcón, Team Leader for Horn of Africa in the presence of H.E. First Lady Roman Tesfaye, Ms. Anne Lamila, Ambassador for Equality Issues at the Finnish Foreign Ministry, H.E. Ambassador Woinshet Tadesse, Finish potential buyers and other invited guests on October 20, 2016.
Following the remarks made by the First Lady of Ethiopia, the speaker from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Ambassador Anne Lammila, Ambassador for Equality Issues delivered her presentation during the official opening
A seminar was held at the Ministry where brief presentation was made by Mrs. Nigest on the preparations made for the trade mission and the mix of the delegation. During the seminar, an expert from Finnpartnhership, funding organization operating under the Finish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presented the opportunities that the Finland Government is providing in doing business with Finland. The seminar also included experience sharing from Finnish entrepreneurs involved in hospitality and the health sector (Relax Birth). During this seminar, Ethiopian entrepreneurs: Ms. Amelsa Yazew, owner of Little Gabies, Ms. Salem Kasahun, owner of Salem’s Design and Ms. Solome Wasse, owner of B Honey, shared their experiences and best practices.
On the last day of the trade mission, the delegation members were able to visit two companies in Finland. The delegation in coffee visited the Paulig Group, the largest roaster in Finland and S Group (SOK), whole sell distributor in Finland, where in those company visits; the Ethiopian delegation was able learn about the Finish buyers expectations and demands.
See also: http://www.mfa.gov.et/web/guest/-/a-forum-on-doing-business-with-ethiopia-held-in-nordic-countries