Even as trade and economic relations between India and Ethiopia (key African state) are booming, there is still huge scope to expand and diversify trade between the two countries, said V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs said on Wednesday.
“I invite Indian entrepreneurs to consider establishing high-quality educational institutions, of both technical and non-technical nature, in Ethiopia,” said Muraleedharan addressing an India-Ethiopia Business Forum organized by T
he Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
The meet organised in the honour of Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister (PM) and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia. This was the first physical high-level interaction organised by ASSOCHAM after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
The MoS said that the economy of Ethiopia, the second-most populous African country which has been posting a double-digit growth rate for over 15 years together with its highly-educated, skilled populace and sound economic policies makes it an attractive investment destination for Indian entrepreneurs.
Highlighting the expansion in economic collaboration between India and Ethiopia, the Minister highlighted that despite the Covid-19 global pandemic, Indian businessmen continued to explore investment opportunities in the African country. “During the last one year, we have had 35 new Indian investments in Ethiopia.”
The Minister also expressed appreciation for Ethiopian government’s effort in creating a congenial environment for foreign investments and in particular for facilitating Indian companies to invest in Ethiopia and carry on their business.
Currently, there are over 607 Indian companies in Ethiopia with a licensed investment of over $5 billion (bn) employing about 75,000 Ethiopian nationals. About 61 percent of Indian investments are in the manufacturing sector followed by agriculture (14 percent.
Ethiopia is one of the largest recipients of India’s concessional loans or lines of credit in Africa. “I am glad that our development partnership covers sectors such as rural electrification NSE 1.62 % and the sugar industry and consists of a total of six lines of credit amounting to $705 million extended to Ethiopia,” according to MoS.
Sharing his perspective, Ethiopian deputy PM, said that while bilateral trade ties between India and Ethiopia have reached $1.23 bn and over the years, although Indian exportable goods to Ethiopia has shown exponential growth, he rued that Ethiopia’s export to India remains as low as before.
Inviting Indian businesses, the Ethiopian deputy PM informed about a ten-year economic development plan unveiled by his government with a vision of ‘Ethiopia: An African Beacon of Prosperity.’
“We have also defined new frontiers of growth including digital economy, tourism, science and technology, human resource development and increase in productivity in agriculture and industry,” said Mr Mekonnen.
He also assured facilitation from his government for prospective Indian investments.