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Ethiopia, UAE in quest to bump up trade

Addis Ababa: The UAE and Ethiopia have held talks on joint investment projects in Ethiopia’s industry, agriculture, food processing, tourism, renewable energy and mining sectors.

The intensive talks conducted by Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, during his current visit to Ethiopia, shed light on the two countries’ desire to raise the level of bilateral trade, amounting to about $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion), to higher levels in the coming years.

Al Mansouri started his official visit to Addis Ababa on 17th of this month, leading a high-level delegation including Abdullah Bin Ahmed Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Foreign Trade Sector at the UAE Ministry of Economy along with about 55 people from government entities and both public and private sectors.

The visit aims to monitor the promising opportunities to diversify its investments in the light of the agreements and investment partnerships between the two countries in a number of important economic sectors.

He held series meetings with eight senior Ethiopian government officials, especially with President Mulatu Teshome, to discuss ways to promote economic and investment cooperation of trade exchange between the two countries. Al Mansouri yesterday met with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, Dr Tedros Adhanom, Minister of Foreign Affairs and State Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Ethiopia, Ahmad Shede.

Al Mansouri opened the Emirati Ethiopian Business Forum, organised by the Ministry of Economy in cooperation with the UAE embassy in Addis Ababa and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, in order to review opportunities for joint cooperation between the two countries.

According to Al Mansouri, talks focused during the two meetings on the importance of developing a joint future plan to benefit from the experience of the UAE in the field of government organisation and administration, legislation and laws governing the various economic sectors, especially with regard to cooperation in the field of small and medium enterprises.

He stated that Desalegn suggested that the UAE might invest in the development of specialised industrial zones, to bring the names of UAE companies and factories not only to Ethiopia, but to all of East Africa.

The minister pointed out that the Ethiopian Foreign Minister hailed the results of his meeting with Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, during his recent visit to the UAE, highlighting the importance of continued coordination between the two countries, which would contribute to support the stability and security of the region and various international issues.

He said Adhanom, spoke about the future directions between his country and the UAE, holding the first meeting of the joint committee between them.

Al Mansouri also explained that his meeting with the Ethiopian Minister of Industry, which was attended by four ministers of state, highlighted the need of briefing the UAE on investment sectors, the Ethiopians’ desire to be part of it, especially the UAE’s investment funds seeking to invest in the sectors of agricultural, animal and food industries, because of their of importance to support the policy of the UAE in its orientation towards achieving food security.

He added that Abtew also called on the UAE to invest in mining sectors, especially as the country is rich in natural ores such as iron, gold, tin and others, and the possibility of exploiting available cheap electric power to encourage the establishment of UAE industries in Ethiopia.