Ethiopia's State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Berhane, today (January 11th) met an eight-person Japanese delegation led by Mr. Sadamichi Matsumoto, Ethiopia's Honorary Consul in Japan.
The delegation included members of Japan's Medical and Dental Network who are also members of the Cleft Palate Foundation. Ambassador Berhane noted the historic relationship between Japan and Ethiopia, and the shared similarities in handling challenges of transition.
He said Ethiopia considered Japan as an excellent partner and a nation from which Ethiopia could learn a lot. Ethiopia valued Japan's development cooperation both through the TICAD platform and bilaterally, and its involvement in investment, trade and development cooperation had made a significant contribution to Ethiopia's development and the double-digit economic growth registered over the last nine years.
Ethiopia was one of the fastest growing economies not only in Africa but in the world. It was an indication of the significant investment and trade opportunities available here. Ambassador Berhane noted the stable political situation and democratic system of governance and underlined Ethiopia's stabilizing role in the region. He expressed his belief that the appointment of the Honorary Consul would have an important impact in strengthening the overall relations between Ethiopia and Japan. He also noted the positive contributions of the Cleft Palate Foundation in the health sector and in technology transfer.
The Honorary Consul expressed his pleasure at his appointment and said he was ready to do everything possible to strengthen relationships in areas of investment, trade and technology transfer. He suggested that a resumption of direct flights by Ethiopian Airlines to Japan would play an important role in improving import-export flows and tourism, and Ambassador Berhane expressed Ethiopia's readiness to discuss the viability of this.
Members of the delegation pointed out the increasing people-to-people links, emphasizing ongoing cooperation with Awassa University in the fields of pediatrics and gynecology. Four of the delegation members will be traveling to Awassa where they will undertake surgery to 35 cleft palate victims.