Mr. Haye aspired to use much of his time recalling discussions he had held with African heads of state, including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and focused on addressing ways in which to increase the investment and purchase of coffee products.He, however, made no mention of the very subject that puts his company into a controversy with the host country when he delivered his 10-page speech at the opening of the conference on Thursday, February 15th. His company’s efforts in blocking Ethiopia from registering its coffee of Sidama and Yirgachefe was a glaring absence from his speech that focused on how much Starbucks is a company that cares for its employees and the farmers who are producing the commodity it markets in its 13,000 coffee shops around the world.

Rather, Starbucks’ tussle with Ethiopia was at the centre of a press conference its executives held on Friday afternoon at the Sheraton; Mr. Haye, Starbuck’s procurement chief, said although he would have no objections to Ethiopia’s bid to brand its coffee, his company would not recognize an “Ethiopian trademarked coffee.”

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