Hailemariam Desalegn,(L) who represented the EPRDF in the gathering and Tsegaye Abebe member of the organising committee looks forward to more cooperations
The businesspeople that met at the Addis Abeba Convention Centre (AACC) on April 8, 2010, and raised 20 million Br in support of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) are already planning another gathering 10 times as big to ensure that the ruling party remains in power.
The AACC meeting that brought together more than 1,000 businesspeople was organised by 60 prominent businesspeople including Tsegaye Abebe, president of the Ethiopian Horticultural Producer-Exporter Association and Getu Gelete, owner and co-owner of several businesses including GetAs International and Getu Commercial Centre. Over 1,000 businesspeople came from all 10 districts in Addis Abeba.
The EPRDF was represented in the meeting by Hailemariam Desalegn, member of the central committee of EPRDF, and government whip at Parliament.
Over 20 million Br had been raised from the business community that pledged to support the EPRDF, Abdulsemed Takele, who represented the attendants of the meeting, said. He also urged the business community to give their full support to the EPRDF.
“The main concern of the business community is that business activity not be disrupted following the election,” Tsegaye said to Fortune. “That is why we would like the status quo to be maintained.”
The business community took the opportunity to remind the incumbent that it needed to work on improving tax collection and land allocation. Twenty-three ERPDF candidates for the Addis Abeba City Council were introduced at the meeting.
The organisers of the meeting are planning a bigger meeting of 10,000 businesspeople at Millennium Hall in May, according to Getu Gellete. Various government officials could be at that meeting to respond to the business concerns that could be raised by the business community.