ADDIS ABEBA – Japan Tobacco Inc, one of the five largest tobacco companies in the world, is keen to expand investment in Ethiopia in a bid to increase its tobacco export, according to the CEO of the company.
A delegation of Japanese investors met with Dewano Kedir, head of economic affairs desk at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in Addis Abeba on Tuesday.
During the discussion, head of the delegation and President and CEO of JTI, Masamichi Terabatake, expressed his company’s plan to expand its tobacco farms in Ethiopia.
JTI owns 71% of the shares of National Tobacco Enterprise S.C. (or NTE) acquired from the Government of Ethiopia in 2016/2017 for USD 1 billion. It is the largest private sector investment by a Japanese company in Ethiopia to date.
Masamich said the company wants to grow more tobacco leaves for the export market, MoFA said in a statement sent to The Daily Monitor.
NTE manufactures, distributes and sells Nyala, the leading domestic tobacco brand in the country, and also owns and manages five tobacco farms – Robi, Billate, Hawassa, Wolayta, and East Shoa.
Dewano, on his part, urged Japanese businesses to make use of the investment opportunities in the East African nation. The government will give them substantial support if they want to invest here, he told them.