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Civil Service Reform Program Proves Successful in Ethiopia
Source: World Bank
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Dr. Worku Zewde and his wife, Zinash, came back to Ethiopia ten years ago after spending 21 years in the United States, where they had become American citizens.
“Going to the United States was not a shock for me,” Zewde recalls. “It was coming back to Ethiopia that was difficult.”
The Zewde’s had come home hoping to invest money they had earned while living in the United States.
“The policy for investing was so prohibitive—especially for foreigners,” he said. “There was a cap. You had to bring in half a million dollars if you wanted to invest. Nobody would risk investing that much money in Ethiopia at that time.”
After two years, and an effort by the Ethiopian government with the assistance of the World Bank funded Public Sector Capacity Building Project (PSCAP) to reform the investment sector, the Zewde’s were able to start a business -- Knit to Finish, PLC. They have been a success story ever since. The company exports quality garments to the United States where they are sold at sporting goods stores. The garments are manufactured by over 350 employees, mostly women, just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.
Easing the process of doing business
Ethiopia’s Federal Investment Agency, the agency responsible for monitoring finances and investment, has dramatically improved its service delivery times and customer service, providing a more conducive environment for foreign investment. Ten years ago, it took an average 225 days to get a business license. Now it only takes half a day.
“There is definitely a sizeable difference in this country, which is keeping us going every day,” Zewde said. “We see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
This sense of great improvement in the business environment is shared by Ryiaz Shamji, a native of Uganda, who moved to Ethiopia ten years ago looking for investment opportunities.
Today, his family business, Golden Rose Agrofarms, exports 2.5 million roses per month. It also produces drinking water and a variety of consumer goods. When they got started, however, it wasn’t so easy.
“The whole idea of investment promotion was on a very different level,” said Shamji, whose company employs 830 people. “It wasn’t a question of incentivizing investors.
This is no longer the case, according to Shamji.
Efforts to reform the Federal Investment Agency began in February 1994 when a directive issued by the Council of Ministers mandated “one-stop shopping.” Previously, foreign investors had to visit many institutions, and the process was cumbersome. To accommodate this mandate, all of the varying processes from different ministries were brought into a single building. Even then, the burdensome and sometimes redundant processes remained the same.
A comprehensive study was commissioned in 2002 to look back at the previous 10 years. All stakeholders participated in the study which helped to generate recommendations. Government officials welcomed the recommendations, and in turn issued an even more comprehensive and radical transformation. The Federal Investment Agency was given the power to make decisions, and as a result redundancies were eliminated, processes were consolidated, and unnecessary procedures were abolished.
The Agency also embraced a culture of excellence, striving to do even more. The processing time for business licenses was reduced from 225 days to six hours in 2004, and then again to 3 ½ hours in 2006. The improvements in service delivery spread throughout the country to the regional trade and industry bureaus and city administrations.
Gaining investor trust
Understanding the value of the customer, the Agency now solicits customer feedback. Comments are systematically collected and analyzed on a weekly basis. Feedback, whether positive or negative, is shared with the relevant frontline staff, department or agency. This has led to a host of improvements.
Seifu Biratu, head of the Civil Service Reform Office for the Federal Investment Agency, collects the comment forms on a weekly basis.
“It has had a great effect on our frontline,” he said. “They know we are reading the comments so they are more conscientious in providing good customer service.”
Biratu’s colleague also heralds the improvements.
“What we have come to realize,” said Alemayehu Gebeta, head of the Licensing and Registration Department, “is that investors have become our diplomats. When they have a good experience, they tell others. They help us to attract other foreign investors.”
The numbers support Alemayehu’s claim. In 2003, 23 investment permits were issued. By 2006, that number had jumped to 1,000 permits issued.
Perhaps one of the most amazing feats of this success is that everything is still done manually. The agency is looking forward to achieving even greater efficiency once automation is introduced through the assistance of future PSCAP funding.
what does it mean ? when you loot people property to Tigrai and talk bla bla bla about fake investment ??
We know that only government suporters allowed to run busness in the country….
our youngesters are all unemploied.distetuts,beggers, hopless and exposed to useless bad habits like chewing chat and smoking Mariwana, taking druges as couping mecanism…so sad and very sad !!
That is it, Well well well another good news. WEDEFIT!!!,
God Bless Ethiopia and the whole world.
very nice hope to see more improvements all sectors in the coming years.
I like when people to wintess themselves how Ethiopian government good is for business. Yeha
You readers do not be fool,
The secrete of Civil Service Reform Program (BPR) in Ethiopia to suspend civil hundred thousand serves workers, Ph D degree, M. Sc and B Sc degree holders, including all other unskilled staffs for example from Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization (I know at least 5 Ph Ds), (Please Nazret.com, confirm this issues and disclose to the readers).
I am sure Wayanne is clearing civil workers those either not member of EPRDF, member of ….PDO or supperters of other political parties. It is to recruits new University …PDO members to those organizations. Civil Service Reform Program (BPR) is adding terrible life to the peoples.
Medias are confusing the world
Not to forgt that the WB dwells on the toils of poor people all over the world. This story is probably true. And this is what most diaspora activist monkeys don’t want to hear. For them, Ethiopia is the country they left in the 50s. These maggots need to realize that times have changed. Nothing is black and white; Ethiopia will sure remain poor for the long haul, but we need to agree that there are some improvements. If some diaspora maggots do not agree, then they shoud go and do more. Well their answer to this would be, ‘there is no democracy!?’ I would tell them to go and work for democracy, if this is what they wish, from with in than with out. Otherwise you will remain sleazy citizens that capitalize on discontent and falsehood.
Fianally Ethiopia tikdem.
Halelluja, ejesus geta new! Allah wa akbir!
it’s like stabing the ICU and Shabia in the back once more
well welcome to ETHIOPIA where your investment will pay off in a big way !!
tx for all who have worked hard to reform the investment path in THE COUNTRY.
Not ture unless you speak tegirgna.
Not true at all!
To Shewa Anbessa: Ante EriSlavino, don’t think you are smart enough to spray poison here among Ethiopians … Do not pretend that you are an Ethiopian; U are not, not even in your wildest dreams. We know you are a useless sub-human ex-Ethiopian from the Cursed land illegally created by Fascist-Shabeya!
Keep off Ethiopia’s national agenda, you are a hopeless moron … get lost, Eri-Queer!
Balege Tiffram, Zere Sidd, Sidd yadege.
Balcha aba nebesso(buchela le woduna nebessu )you and all the TPLf thugs have no legitimacy to say who is and
who is not Ethiopian .Afterall the first and main anti Ethiopian elements
are you and your evil master with your
looter regime and bandas .Raised ,fed ,armed by shabya and all our worst enemies
against the unity and the sovereignty
of our motherland .You deserved not to
use the name of such great hero ,Dedatch baltcha aba nefso ,the greatest man of the battle of Adwa
who proudly paid a sacrifice fighting the facist Italian troops
,even getting elder ,refusing to surrender for them the day they occupy Addis-Abeba .Unfortunatly for
you and all your thug bros ,many of
your parents and grand parents were
serving the facist forces as BANDAS .
LONG LIVE THE TRUE ETHIOPIANS !!!
Yes, no one said Ethiopian govenment is worse than Eritria, but they need to allow all people to paricipate in serving their country and should be able to run for office with no fear of being arrested killed or family members being targeted.
Free Election if not the little good that is happening will be destroyed!
It is a good start and Initiate the others to follow the path.
For those who comment Wrong(Eritreans)above,I know you have no where to go.
I am sorroy about that just pray.
For those who has a good wish for such a blees act fot the dedicted Ethiopian,I wish you the best.
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