Exhibitors take off during book launch

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

Thirty international companies from 10 countries who were expected to showcase products and technology at the Millennium Hall were forced to make way for the Prime Minster’s book launch.
The Hall had been booked a year ago for the fifth edition of the Livestock Exhibition, through Addis Park for the expo organized by Parana Events and a Sudanese Expo Team for Service.com Ltd.
However, a loophole in the contract which mandates that the hall be vacated for an ‘urgent affair’, allowed the Addis Park managers to tell organizers to leave the hall because it was needed for the inauguration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s new book ‘Medemer’ (synergy).
The exhibitors had planned to showcase for three consecutive days but instead they were forced to relocate to Kolfe Kerano Subcity, inside the premises of MIDROC Ethiopia’s compound called Keranio Plaza.
“International Expos like this would not be hindered in the rest of the world unless there was a declared state of emergency. It really hurts Ethiopia’s Business tourism industry,” said Nebyu Lemma, Managing Director of Prana Events.
However, PM Abiy during the book launch acknowledge the mistake and apologized officially to the organizers.
Prana Events hosts around 5 international expos annually.
“International exhibitors are disappointed and have left the country despite attempts to relocate them,” the manager said.
According to him, they tried to work with the Ministry of Trade and Industry as well as the Ministry of Agriculture but their complaints fell on deaf ears as a result he fears many of these global companies will be reluctant to return to Ethiopia next year.
The Expo at the Hall was only open for one day, Thursday October 17, and closed at 6pm.
Nebyu said that US companies were particularly frustrated and that this hurts the country’s image.
Capital learned that the ceremony at Millennium Hall is organized by the Addis Ababa City Administration.
More than 100 companies from 10 countries including Netherlands, Sudan, China Germany, India and USA attended the event along with local companies. It features all kinds of agricultural products including unique animal feed.