Twenty French companies will begin pre-investment screening visits to Ethiopia today.
The world’s most populous landlocked country has long enjoyed an economic partnership with France. Between 1996-2020 French companies invested USD 84 million there, creating over 4000 jobs. Today’s visits follow those from French Chamber of Commerce officials in June.
Ethiopia consistently posts strong economic growth rates and boasts a young population eager to work. The country, however, is sliding towards authoritarianism and shifting away from the West. This visit from French CEO’s directly follows Ethiopia’s formal acceptance into the BRICS.
The BRICS now contain 46% of world population. The group increasingly alters trading patterns and threatens Western-led geopolitical order. Ethiopia’s foreign policy is increasingly emulating that of Russia and China, as evidenced by Ethiopia’s recent claims over Eritrean waters.
In addition to tensions caused by these claims, a rebellion in Amhara, the second-most populated region, threatens to spark wider conflict. The government received no bids in a telecoms license tender this month with potential investors citing political instability as a blocker.
Without French government or EU assurances, increasing belligerence and instability coupled with a government cosying up to those of Russia and China is likely to deter private-sector investment.
Rory is an Analyst that writes for the Daily Brief..