Successful investment and networking visit of the Amhara Leadership to the Netherlands


From 1 until 7 March Maastricht School of Management (MSM) hosted the investment learning and networking visit of the Amhara National Regional State (ANRS) leadership team to the Netherlands. During the one-week visit a busy schedule was completed starting in Maastricht, the utter South of the Netherlands to the final visit in The Hague. The week was comprised of meetings, corporate visits and lectures

The main purpose of the visit was to strengthen the investment climate between the Netherlands and Ethiopia, with a main focus on strengthening the relation between the Amhara National Regional State (ANRS) leadership and the Dutch government.

Lectures, networking and investment talks
The visit started with a lecture on global investment dynamics at MSM. Prof. Van Dijk provided the leadership team with an in-depth presentation about foreign investment and trade opportunities for African countries. Thereafter, Ger Koopmans, Deputy of Culture, Finance and Integration of the Province Limburg, welcomed the leadership team, agricultural council at the Dutch embassy in Ethiopia, Niek Bosmans, Chairman of the MSM Supervisory board and former Queens Commissioner of the Province of Limburg, Léon Frissen, Dean at Maastricht University School of Business & Economics, Peter Møllgaard, CEO at MSM, Meinhard Gans and Project Manager Huub Mudde. At the Province of Limburg regional development and investment strategies were discussed.

The following day BASF Vegetable Seeds in Nunhem provided the leadership team with an interesting presentation about their new to be launched high-tech facility greenhouse in the Amhara state. To give the delegation a good first impression what their operations entail a guided tour through the high-tech greenhouse and processing facility of BASF Vegetable Seeds was organized. Employees of the Vegetable Seed multinational shared their knowledge from seed to a successful harvest.

The delegation was making their way to the north of the province with the next visit at Ooijen-Wanssum Project Bureau, which is a project bureau that is executing a spacious regional development project. Project director Theo Reinders and Environmental manager Keesjan van den Herik explained the ins and outs of the project and how to handle and overcome obstacles in a public-private project of scale. The project creates sustainable flood protection for the people living in the area of Ooijen and Wanssum. However, it’s not alone flood protection this project invests also in improving infrastructure, new economic activities and developing a nature reserve for recreation.

The final corporate visit of the Southern part of the Netherlands was at Royal Swinkels Family Brewers (Bavaria). The leadership team was welcomed by Stijn Swinkels, Member of the board of directors and his brother Thomas Swinkels, Plant manager of the Bavaria brewery. In 2015 Royal Swinkels Family Brewers opened the Habesha Brewery in Ethiopia. Habesha beer is brewed together with 8000 local entrepreneurs and shortly after the start of the Ethiopian beer the beer brand took off. After talks about future plans for Habesha in Ethiopia the brothers Swinkels provided the delegation with a guided tour through the Bavaria Brewery plan in Lieshout, followed by a beer at their own Bavaria Brouwerijcafe. 

Visiting Dutch ministries, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and horticulture businesses
At the Netherlands Enterprising Agency (RVO) Tjerk Opmeer, Director International Programs, welcomed the delegation. Here the participants were informed about how Dutch companies and investors can be supporter when investing in Ethiopia. The following day the Netherland Foreign Investment Agency discussed what the Netherlands does to get foreign investments. The most notable feature was the highly implemented automated system that provides insight into relevant data from large companies worldwide in the most important sectors for the Netherlands.

The next day, Thursday, was all about floriculture. Around 85 Dutch companies are active in the agricultural sector, mainly in floriculture, in Ethiopia. With the support of the Dutch Embassy and RVO a floriculture domain is being developed in the Kunzila region in Amhara. The companies that are opening their new floriculture businesses in this region welcomed the delegation and talked about infrastructure, planning and safety. Furthermore, there were also talks with a horticulturalist who is interested in investing and expanding its business in the Amhara region. At the flower auction in Aalsmeer the delegation was introduced to how closely connected the flower production process in Ethiopia is with the Netherlands. Five days after a rose has been picked, it is already in stores.

The program ended with a visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a meeting with Director General International Cooperation, Ms Kitty van der Heijden. She mentioned the ‘exceedingly broad’ relations between the Netherlands and Ethiopia and the willingness of the Dutch government to support the Ethiopian government in implementing a shared agenda for prosperity and economic growth.

At the final session before departure back to Ethiopia, the delegation indicated that it was extremely happy with the  visit and that they had learned among others the importance of vision, strategic leadership that ‘walk the talk’, long-term planning and a pro-active attitude.

Orange Knowledge Programme
The investment learning and network visit of the ANRS Leadership team was organized in collaboration with the Dutch Embassy in Ethiopia and financially supported bij the Nuffic Orange Knoweldge Programme (OKP). OKP contributes to a society’s sustainable and inclusive development by providing access to education and training for professionals and organisations in technical vocational education and training (TVET) and higher education. It is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of its development cooperation policy. The subsidy programme is managed by Nuffic, a Dutch non-profit organisation for internationalisation in education. It offers funding for long-term, demand-driven partnerships between Dutch knowledge institutions and organisations in 19 participating countries, as well as individual scholarships and Tailor-Made Trainings in all 53 selected countries. The € 195-m, five-year programme ends mid-2022, enabling tens of thousands to change their future. From the Dutch development cooperation policy, 4 priority themes have been selected on which to focus in the programme: Food and Nutrition Security; Water, Energy and Climate; Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; and Security and Rule of Law. Cross-cutting themes in this programme are inclusion, employability and environmental sustainability.

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