Addis Ababa — The comprehensive partnership between India and Ethiopia has been gaining momentum, according to India's Ambassador to Ethiopia.
Ambassador Anurag Srivastava told ENA said that the relationship between Ethiopia and India has borne fresh fruits in various sectors.
According to him, the two nations have multi-faced, vibrant and robust bilateral relationship which has advanced into a strong political, commerce and people-to-people linkages.
"Ethio-India relation is something which can be described as vibrant and robust. The political relation is in a good track between the two sides. We have a commercial relationship which makes us one of the top three economic partners of Ethiopia and we have cultural and people to people links between our two civilizations and countries which go back two thousand years," he pointed out.
Ambassador Srivastava reiterated India's readiness to deepen traditional friendship, work hand in hand for common development with Ethiopia, and to cement the existing cooperation, particularly in trade and investment.
The trade volume between Ethiopia and India has recently jumped over one billion US dollars, he revealed, adding that "if you really look back and compare the trade figures, it has registered a double growth after two decades, which was only 500 million USD in 1990s."
"To me the trade relationship is something which has a lot of potential and this is something we need to look at how we can realize that potential. If you analyze the trade volume, it is heavily one-sided in favor of India. The export from India is much more as compared to the export from Ethiopia," he elaborated.
However, the two countries are working on the possibilities of export diversification from Ethiopia by adding value on the various commodities in order to balance the trade volume in the near future, the ambassador added.
"We signed a trade agreement with Ethiopia in October 2017. One of the purpose of this agreement is to have our trade committee where export from both sides could be checked down and look at the challenges and the bottlenecks that we are facing in terms of our trade volumes and balance the trade by addressing those issues."
Speaking about the investment, the ambassador stated that India's companies have been the top three investors in Ethiopia. Indian companies have 2 billion USD investment in Ethiopia.
"We have about 584 Indian companies registered here, and that makes us among the top three investors in this country. If you ask me the reason why, Indian investors have chosen Ethiopia because it provides stable political climate, strong macro-economy and the government of Ethiopia has focused on attracting investment with reasonable incentive packages," Srivastava stated.
According to the ambassador, India is looking forward to boosting investment as Ethiopia continues to be an attractive investment destination. "We will have more Indian investment and we are working in that direction by addressing some challenges on customs, banking facilities and other related issues."
Appreciating the far reaching reforms Ethiopia has been undertaking under Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed, India has in particular been watching carefully those investors who have engaged in Ethiopia.
"We are watching this very carefully because Ethiopia is a long-term economic partner for us and these reforms hold the promise of emergence of a new Ethiopia to open up a new investment atmosphere," he noted.
Srivastava said the current announcement by the Ethiopian government to open up the economy in areas of Telecom, shipping and logistic as well as airlines is attracting Indian investors.