8 October 2017

Ethiopia: Currying Relations

President Ram Nath Kovind came to Addis Abeba for a state visit that lasted two days, making it the first of its kind in almost a century, the last time an Indian president made a trip to the East African nation. Kovind's visit is meant to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries, especially in the areas of trade - the total volume of which has reached over one billion dollars.

The highlight of the President's visit was the second day, October 5, 2017. Kovind held talks with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, at the latter's official residence, and then attended the India-Ethiopia Business Dialogue Forum at Sheraton Addis. Before a speech by both him and Mulatu Teshome (PhD) (centre-left), president of Ethiopia, Indian businesses showcased their work during the adjoining exposition at the hotel. Exhibitors such as Anand Babu , the founder of Jayalaxmi Agrotech Pvt Ltd, a company that develops mobile applications designed to assist those involved in farming and horticulture, displayed their products to the two heads of state and officials such as Asfaw Dengamo (centre-right), Ethiopia's ambassador to India.

"Ethiopia attaches great importance to its relations with India and is keen on further enhancing it," Mulatu told participants of the forum.

A recent report by the African Risk-Reward Index indicated that Ethiopia had one of the highest foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in Africa last year, standing at over three billion dollars. There are over 500 Indian companies currently doing business in Ethiopia, with an aggregate capital of close to four billion dollars. This makes India the third biggest investor in the country, next to Turkey and China, respectively.

Experts related the visit of the President as an attempt of regaining India's dominance in the FDI and trade aspects in Ethiopia which has now been taken by Turkey and China.


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