Ethiopia: Ethio-Saudi Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting Kicks Off

The fifth Ethio-Saudi Joint Ministerial Commission meeting that focuses on issues of bilateral cooperation and validity of agreements has kicked off today here in Addis Ababa.

In his opening remark on the joint three-day long senior officials meeting today, State Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Kaba Urgessa said several agreements, which have laid the basis for further expansion of cooperation have been signed since the establishment of the Joint Ministerial Meeting in 2001.

Pointing out that Ethiopia is one of the top four destinations of Foreign Direct Investment in the continent, the State Minister emphasized "Ethiopia offers the right mix of opportunities for mutually beneficial partnership for trade and investment."

According to him, disciplined, affordable and trained labor force, abundant natural resource, cheapest energy resources, attractive policy and financial incentives for competitive environment are among the unique features that Ethiopia offers.

Recalling that trade volume among the two countries had reached1.4 billion USD in 2014 and declined to 659 million USD in 2017, Dr. Kaba said "this shows the potential that both countries could harness if they deploy all of their resources."

Further, he added that there is a positive trend in attracting investment from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but much remains to be done.

Mentioning that both countries are located in a region where there is frequent challenge of security, such as terrorism and evolving of extremist elements, Kaba said "this requires the creation of mechanisms that enables them to work closely."

The leader of Saudi delegation, Deputy Minister of Animal Resources Hamid bin Abdulaziz Al-Batshan said on his part "I am very hopeful that we will reach on understanding in every issue that we will be dealing in the coming days."

We have strong relationships that goes through a longer timeline and that always warms our hearts to go back to that time of the first Hejira he added.

The Deputy Minister said "therefore we should strengthen our relationship for both countries have plenty to offer to one another."

The delegation received presentation on the issues related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and its impact towards regional cooperation and economic integration.

On the occasion, Foreign Affairs Trans-boundary Resources Affairs Director, Zerihun Abebe said GERD is being constructed up to the scale of international standards and with full research on eliminating any possible harm.

"We in Ethiopia believe that like Nejashi, like the Nigus who gave sanctuary for our brothers from Saudi during that bad time, the Nile is the same. It is impartial, it is unbiased and all benefiting," Zerihun stressed.

Over the next three days, the Ethio-Saudi Joint Commission is expected discuss on political, justice and consular affairs, cooperation and economic sectors as well as on issues of social significance.

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