Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Addis Ababa on Monday (January 13) at the head of a 50-person delegation of senior officials, parliamentarians and business leaders.
Prime Minister Hailemariam and high-level Ethiopian officials welcomed Prime Minister Abe, his wide and the delegation at Bole International Airport before holding discussions at the Jubilee Palace.
Prime Minister Hailemariam noted that "Ethio-Japanese relations, dating back over 85 years, had now reached qualitatively higher levels."
He underlined and reaffirmed Ethiopia's contributions to the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) and expressed his hopes that Japan would implement the TICAD V Declaration and Plan of Action in collaboration with the African Union.
Prime Minister Hailemariam stressed the importance of increasing Japanese investment in Ethiopia to help Ethiopia maintain the double digit growth it had witnessed over the past decade.
He requested Prime Minister Abe's support for Japan's Trade and External Office (JETRO) to open offices in Addis Ababa, the diplomatic hub of Africa, to boost trade and investment ties not only with Ethiopia but also with Africa as a whole.
He said Ethiopia's rapidly improving institutional capacity, stable macro-economy, and conducive investment climate as well as its friendly and hospitable people and growing market offers attractive business opportunities for Japanese investors.
He urged to Japanese investors to take part in Ethiopia's manufacturing sector, especially in energy development and railway management as well as in production of rice in the area of agricultural investment in which Japan excels.
Prime Minister Hailemariam appreciated Japan's immense contribution in technical assistance to Ethiopia's development, noting that Ethiopia has adopted Kaizen as a philosophy in the nation's moves to improve quality and productivity, and expressed Ethiopia's desire to benefit from the Abe Initiative.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed that Japan would continue to support Ethiopia's development endeavors, sharing experiences through the Ethio-Japan Industrial Policy Dialogue. He underlined that Japan would like to expand Ethiopia's Kaizen Institute into a TICAD Human Resource Development Center for Africa.
He promised to consider opening a JETRO office in Addis Ababa after looking at the trade volumes and investment climate changes in Ethiopia.
Prime Minister Abe announced his government's decision to offer a 520 million yen support to improve the productivity of underprivileged farmers in Ethiopia, as well as Japan's desire to support Ethiopia in the study for a master plan for geothermal energy, urban water development and to expedite the Aluto-Langano Geothermal project.
He also announced grants of US$11.6 million to assist refugees from neighboring countries in Ethiopia and US$500,000 to the African Union Peace and Security Peacekeeping Training Center.
Prime Minister Abe welcomed Ethiopia's role in promoting political dialogue and peace keeping in Somalia and South Sudan as well as between Sudan and South Sudan.
He said Japan would support IGAD-led mediation efforts and urged the international community to support the efforts of the regional bloc.