Context is Everything!!!
In line with recently announced policy changes “nearly 250 state owned businesses will be privatized as Share Companies”, a report from the December 2012 Asmara Investment Conference participant divulged. The privatization of the nearly 250 businesses is in addition to the “32 manufacturing projects would be launched”, as disclosed by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Estifanos Habte.
Although Mr. Estifanos Habte, has already disclosed that Asmara Brewery, Red Sea Bottlers Share Company, Asmara Milk Factory, Alfa Food Factory, Dekemhare Pasta Factory, the Children’s Food Factory in Dekemhare, Red Sea Food Products and Red Sea General Mills are slated to be privatized “ on the basis of shares and sole proprietorship”, the scope of the privatization programme far exceeds that picture presented by Eritrea’s national media so far.
Additionally, among other policy changes, starting 2013, travelers to Eritrea “will no longer have to declare carried foreign currency”.
To add granularity to the scope and depth of Eritrea’s emerging economic reform and restructuring appended below -with gratitude for sharing them – are notes from Mr. M., a diligent, interested participant and a potential investor:
* All licensing can go through the Eritrean Investment Center (envisioned as a “one-stop shop”)
* Beginning 2013 will no longer have to declare carried foreign currency on arrival if not in excess of $10,000
* People will be able to import and export freely
* Limitations on repatriation of foreign currency will be lifted
* Nearly 250 state owned businesses will be privatized as Share Companies
** NICE will continue to be privatized
** EriTel will be privatized
** 13 State-owned hotels will be privatized
** Numerous State-owned manufacturers will be privatized
Policies that will NOT change
* Currency will not be floated (will in the future gradually reach a sustainable exchange rate)
Primary sectors for investment include agriculture, tourism and industry. Agricultural infrastructure will remain the domain of the government (e.g. dams, roads, etc.) however, all other investments are acceptable, including:
* farms (e.g. cereal crops, vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc.) and
* agricultural processing (canning, juicing, etc.).
-Tourism-sector investments are permitted as tour operators, hoteliers and possibly site development (unmentioned).
-Industrial investment is acceptable in any sub-sector. A list of example projects was given – projects ranged from cement plant to puffed cereal manufacture.