A Walmart store in Ethiopia?
SATURDAY, The Reporter, 24 MARCH 2012
Walmart, the US multinational retailer corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores, and the Ethiopian government are conducting negotiating on the question of the former entering the Ethiopian market, it was learnt. According to sources, an Ethiopian delegation was in Washington DC last week to discuss the matter with officials of Walmart.
The negotiations started while Walmart got the go-ahead with its 2.2 billion dollars purchase of a controlling share in a South African chain, Massmart, earlier this month.
The move to invite Walmart came as a result of last year’s squabble between the government and local wholesalers and retailers following unprecedented commodity prices’ surge in the market. At the time the government blamed the wholesalers for artificially creating a price hike and took the populist yet controversial price cap measure.
Furthermore, the government issued a three-stage ultimatum of which one is inviting foreign companies into the market. After the lifting of the cap, the government undertook a measure to directly intervene in the market. However, the third option, which is inviting foreign companies, was considered by many to be highly unlikely and would not materialize.
Walmart, which was founded by Sam Walton, is the world’s 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000 list, and the largest public corporation when ranked by revenue. It is also the biggest private employer in the world with over two million employees, and is the largest. The company is controlled by the Walton family, one of the richest families in the world, whose combined wealth is estimated to be close to 100 billion dollars. The family owns a 48 percent stake in Walmart.