Sidama officially became a standalone region about two months ago after securing a budget in the 2020/21 budget year. It has since then become eager to improve the investment flow to its potentials. In the past, when it was one of the zones in the SNNP region, with its town Hawassa, it was one of the major hotspots for investment. Now that it is independent, it is eager to continue with the same. On the process to secession from SNNP, Sidama has been experiencing instability, however the president confidently stated that his region is now totally peaceful. Desta Lendamo, President of the region talked to Capital and the following were the highlights of his investment promotion. Excerpts;
Capital: What are you doing in terms of promoting investment in the region?
Desta Lendamo: We are seriously working on promoting investment options in the region by attracting new investments. However, maintaining peace and security is crucial since security in the region is necessary to increase investment attraction. It has only been two months since we became fully functional as a new administration and within this short time we have successfully ensured peace and stability in the region. We have differentiated investment options and we are currently developing required investment options. To boost this ideology we have started to work on accelerating our services, starting from the governmental offices and service providers as per our investor’s demand.
The region has big potential for a variety of investments, so we are working to commence the promotional investment thus changing the actual outcome of the region.
Capital: The region attracts foreign investors and is there anything you are planning to increase in production and production capacity to continue this?
Desta: We are working to increase value-added products and expand export-oriented investments like coffee, textile and the garment sector. A good example of production and production building capacity is coffee and its beans which is a major source of hard currency earner for the region and the country at large. We are planning to increase the supply production of coffee beans to the market to attain the region targets. We plan to use the scientific route in the production of these beans and we are planning to expand the farmers coffee gardens by teaching them better cultivation methods.
Also we seek to add value to the export market thus we have built Yergalem Agro processing. And to that effect lots of investors are taking farmlands which are expected to go into work soon.
In addition, our industrial parks which are centric in exporting including the largest Hawassa Industrial Park which is already producing export items of garment and textile and the new park which is being developed for the production of textile and garments, which is consequently eyeing the export market.
However, there are still challenges on productivity so our administration is closely working with the federal government on this mandate to tackle these issues. Furthermore, new coming industries are also expected to be part and parcel of the centric export to solve foreign currency shortage as well as to create job opportunities for the youth.
So by supporting the existing and promoting the upcoming ones we are planning to increase the investments as well as working round the clock to modernize our services.
Capital: Is there anything that makes this new region different from the other regions?
Desta: Primarily the geographical location of the region presents some form of uniqueness. Our region is very close to the central part of the country and also easily accessible by air and in the near future on express road. Moreover, we have better infrastructure than other regions as well as natural resource potential.
By expounding on this and developing our human resource as well as focusing on maintaining peace and security is sure to make us stand out. By placing peace and stability as our cornerstone the region presents an emblem of opportunity to work together with diverse groups as we continue to promote investments.