Ethiopia starts brand management of its fine coffee exports

May 8th, 2008 | by addis portal |

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – In a bid to promote its fine coffee exports, Ethiopia has launched an innovative and radical brand management programme that is pegged to the East African country’s distinctive coffees, according to the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

It is the first time that an African nation has undertaken such a contemporary approach to developing its economy through brand management, Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) reported Thursday, quoting the IPO.

The launch of the programme took place on the sidelines of the just ended 20th Annual Conference of Specialty Coffees Association of America in Minneapolis, USA.

Ethiopia, the origin of coffee beans, exports around 177,000 tonnes of coffee a year, representing about 15 percent of the world’s production.

However, it is only recently that the country woke to international promotion of its famous fine coffees.

According to industry experts, there is a significant opportunity for Ethiopia to broaden consumer awareness and appreciation of its distinctive coffee brands such as Yirgachefe, Sidamo and Harar.

The Ethiopian government has commissioned a lead international brand specialist firm, Brandhouse, to create an easy-to-use brand identity system to be used for retailing the country’s fine coffees worldwide.

“Few developing countries have realised that intellectual property plays a crucial role in income generation in the globalised economy,” said Ethiopia’s IPO Director General Getachew Mengistie.

“Ethiopia is truly proud to be among the first to see IP management as a tool for development and poverty alleviation,” he added.

Congratulating Ethiopia on this move, Brandhouse Managing Director Crispin Reed said: “We have always known the power that great brands can have commercially, but to apply strategic and creative thinking to a project of this scale and with such social benefit is incredible.”

Since it took the initiative to trademark and license its coffees in 2004, Ethiopia has concluded licensing deals with more than 70 companies in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
 
Addis Ababa – 08/05/2008

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