International Investors Concerned About Ethiopia
Ethiopia has invested billions of dollars to build new dams, railways, roads and industrial centers for more than 10 years. The goal has been to change the mainly agricultural nation into a manufacturing power.
In 2017, the African nation had the world's fastest-growing economy. A year later, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office, promising to loosen the state's control on the economy.
But for the past two years, Ethiopia has faced several problems. These include ethnic clashes, floods, swarms of insects and coronavirus restrictions. Recent fighting, which started in early November, has led many international investors to become even more concerned about the country.
When Bangladeshi textile company DBL came to Ethiopia two years ago, the African nation was the clothing industry's bright new area. It had a lot of workers and a government that wanted to bring in companies with tax breaks and cheap loans.
Last month, as fighting went on in the northern Tigray region, DBL's compound was hit by an explosion that broke the factory's windows. "All we could do was to pray out loud," said Adbul Waseq, an official at the company, which makes clothes mainly for Swedish clothing company H&M.
It is one of at least three foreign clothes makers to have suspended operations in Tigray. "We could have died," Waseq told Reuters.
Any concern by investors could create problems for Ethiopia. The country's manufacturing export push is not yet bringing in enough foreign money to pay for its imports or keep up with rising debt costs.
Before the coronavirus health crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had warned that Ethiopia was at high risk of debt problems. But Abiy's government said that Ethiopia was pushing ahead with reforms that will help build a modern economy.
Ethiopia is a small textiles producer with exports of just $94 million in 2016. In comparison, Vietnam had $29 billion and China $253 billion in the same year, World Bank trade data showed.
Ethiopia's top exports are agricultural, such as coffee, tea, spices, oil seeds, plants and flowers. But the country's push into the textile industry has been a sign of its hope to increase manufacturing.
As fighting neared Tigray's regional capital, Mekelle, textile companies began closing factories and pulling out workers. "It seemed that the conflict was getting closer to the city, and our worry was that we wouldn't be able to leave," said Cristiano Frati to an Italian newspaper. Frati was evacuated from a factory run by Italian company Calzedonia.
DBL has also flown its foreign workers out of Ethiopia. "Everything has become uncertain," its director M.A. Jabbar said. "When will the war end?"
Even before the recent conflict, insurance companies had stopped giving support beyond Ethiopia's northern Amhara area and the federal capital Addis Ababa.
An adviser who works with foreign companies told Reuters, "Ethiopia is not a pretty picture right now."
I'm John Russell.
The new tax laws should act as a stimulus to exports.
She gave false information to the insurance company.
There's a glut of agricultural products in Western Europe.
The main purpose of industry is to create wealth.
5.In comparison, Vietnam had $29 billion and China $253 billion in the same year, World Bank trade data showed.
In comparison 相比之下
In comparison with metal, plastics have both advantages and disadvantages.
He is a little dull in comparison with his brother.
6.Ethiopia is not a pretty picture right now.
right now 现在
I have a client with me right now.
I'm short of cash right now.
埃塞俄比亚十多年来已经投资了数十亿美元用于建造新的大坝、铁路、公路和工业中心 。目标是将这个以农业为主的国家转变为制造业强国 。
2017年，这个非洲国家的全球经济增速最快的国家 。一年之后，该国总理阿比·艾哈迈德走马上任，他承诺要放松国家对经济的控制 。
但是在过去两年里，埃塞俄比亚遇到了一些问题 。其中包括种族冲突、洪水、虫灾以及新冠病毒封锁措施 。11月初爆发的最新冲突使得许多国际投资者对该国的局势十分担忧 。
当孟加拉国DBL纺织公司两年前来到埃塞俄比亚时，这个非洲国家的服装业领域充满前景 。该国拥有大量劳动力，并且政府希望以税收减免和低息贷款引进企业 。
上个月，随着该国北部提格雷地区的冲突不断，DBL公司的厂房遭遇爆炸，工厂窗户被震碎 。该公司主要为瑞典H&M服装公司代加工服装，公司领导阿德布·瓦塞克表示：“我们能做的只有大声祈祷 。”
这是提格雷地区至少3家暂停运营的外国服装生产商之一 。瓦塞克对路透社表示：“我们差点丧命 。”
投资者的担忧可能会给埃塞俄比亚带来麻烦 。该国的制造业出口动力尚未带来足够的外资用于支撑其进口，或应付不断上升的债务成本 。
在新冠病毒健康危机之前，国际货币基金组织曾警告称，埃塞俄比亚面临债务问题的高风险 。但是阿比政府表示，埃塞俄比亚正在推进有助于建立现代经济的改革 。
埃塞俄比亚是一个小型纺织品生产国，2016年的出口额仅为9400万美元 。相比之下，世界银行的贸易数据显示，越南同期出口额为290亿美元，中国为2530亿美元 。
埃塞俄比亚主要出口的是农产品，例如咖啡、茶、香料、油籽、植物以及花卉 。但是进军纺织业表明该国希望提升制造业 。
随着冲突邻近提格雷州首府迈凯尔市附近，纺织厂开始关厂并撤离工人 。克里斯蒂亚诺·芙拉蒂对一家意大利报社表示：“冲突似乎离这座城市越来越近，我们担心没法离开这里 。”芙拉蒂要从意大利Calzedonia公司经营的工厂撤离 。
DBL公司已经安排其外籍员工乘飞机撤离埃塞俄比亚 。该公司董事长贾巴尔表示：“一切都充满了未知 。战争何时能结束？”