Millers will gather this fall in Ethiopia, Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest wheat consumer and fastest growing economy in the world, for the 27th International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Mideast and Africa Region Conference & Expo.

The event is Oct. 24-27 at Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The nation boasts an average gross domestic product of 9.6% in the last 10 years, and has a population of 100.4 million. It has more than 200 mills and grows wheat, teff, maize, beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, chickpeas and more.

“Even though the country produces food crops, food scarcity remains an issue due to the country’s increasing demand. Therefore, great opportunities exist for export, commercial production and processing of these food crops,” said Ali Habaj, IAOM MEA regional director. “Ethiopia also needs new high technologies for the food processing industry, machinery/equipment and production design, in addition to state-of-the-art packaging systems to improve the country’s ventures in processed foods.”

Having the event in Ethiopia is in line with the district’s efforts to connect with millers in Africa, Habaj said.

The IAOM MEA conference program features speakers and industry experts who will present educational and relevant topics on flour milling, pasta production, market outlooks, feed milling and several “What’s New” sessions. An expo also is planned along with several networking and evening events.

A conference program along with registration is available at

Panel discussions

The region is facing challenging times that call for creative, practical, and sustainable solutions to serve the association’s main goal of advancing education and training opportunities in the grain milling industries, Habaj said.

With that in mind, the district has consulted with the local host, the Ethiopian Millers Association, on the technical topics and challenges they would like addressed during the conference.

As a result, the conference will include a panel discussion, “Feeding the Fastest Growing Economies of East Africa,” which will feature the region’s milling industry leaders and their success stories. It will be moderated by Martin Schlauri, managing director, African Milling School, Bühler MEA. Presenters include: Abubakar Bakhresa, executive director, Said Salim Bakhresa & Co Ltd., Tanzania; Nick Hutchinson, group managing director, UNGA Holdings Ltd. and chairman, Cereal Millers Association in Kenya; and Dan Basse, president and founder, AgResource in the U.S.

The other panel discussion, “Regional Review: The Modern Middle East,” will focus on the consequences of privatization and subsidy reforms in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, and Jordan. It will be moderated by David McKee, a grain industry consultant. Panelists include Essa Al Ghurair, chairman, Al Ghurair Resources in the United Arab Emirates; Walid Diab Ghanem, chief executive officer, Egyptian Millers Mills Co.; Seyed Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, director, Federation of Iranian Food Industries FIAFMI in Iran; Gunhan Ulusoy, chairman, Turkish Flour Industrialists’ Federation (TFIF) and board chairman, Ulusoy Flour; and Basse.

A welcome reception is from 7-10 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24 at the Sheraton Addis Ababa. The Gala Dinner is 7:30-10 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the African Union Headquarters. The expo, held at Millennium Hall, will include 92 booths featuring companies from the flour milling and feed manufacturing industries, allied traders, grain millers and more.

The 27th International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Mideast and Africa Region Conference & Expo will be Oct. 24-27 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.