The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, graced and addressed the India-Ethiopia Business Dialogue, organised to commemorate the 12th Anniversary of the India Business Forum in Addis Ababa on October 5, 2017. Speaking on the occasion, the President said that Ethiopia and India have been trading with each other for centuries. Trade relations between Ethiopia and India flourished during the ancient Axumite Empire from the 1st century AD. Today the economic relationship covers trade, private investment, concessional loans for infrastructure projects and development assistance, largely for capacity building.
The President said that India is now among the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia. Indian investment has made a mark in textiles and garments, engineering, plastics, water management, consultancy and ICT, education, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Indian investments in Ethiopia have had a significant presence in manufacturing and value addition to local resources. They have created jobs in this country and contributed to the prosperity of Ethiopian families. He congratulated the Indian Business Forum for playing a lead role in encouraging Indian investment and promoting trade and commerce between India and Ethiopia.
The President said that India’s relationship with Ethiopia is symbolic of its engagement with the African continent, of which Addis Ababa is such a vital hub. At the Third India Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in 2015, India had announced the offer of concessional credit of US$ 10 billion over the next five years to Africa. This was in addition to the on-going credit programme. We have also committed to a grant assistance of US$ 600 million that will include an India-Africa Development Fund of US$ 100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of US$ 10 million. The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor is another initiative brimming with potential.
The President invited business stake-holders in Ethiopia and Africa to partner us in these frameworks and benefit from them. He stated that it is critical that such large projects are designed transparently and bring prosperity to local communities. In the end, the President added, trade and investment works best – or rather works only – when it helps host communities and people on the ground.
Earlier in the day, the President visited the Presidential Palace in Addis Ababa and led delegation-level talks with his counterpart, President Mulatu Teshome. The talks covered a gamut of developmental and trade themes. President Kovind mentioned India’s willingness to positively consider support for power transmission projects in Ethiopia, as well as announced specific assistance in the areas of healthcare, education and agriculture. The two Presidents witnessed the signing of two bilateral agreements – the first on Trade Facilitation and the second related to the Information Communication and Media sector.
News Update| 06 October 2017|Education is fulcrum of Indian engagement with Ethiopia and Africa: Kovind
The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, addressed the academic and student community at Addis Ababa University, the oldest university in Ethiopia, on October 6, 2017 before concluding his four-day State Visit to Djibouti and Ethiopia. Speaking on the occasion, the President said that cooperation in education has been the fulcrum of Indian engagement with Ethiopia. When Ethiopia embarked on its efforts to expand its education sector, Indian teachers were invited here to teach in elementary and secondary schools. Those early pioneers travelled to the remotest parts of the country, instilled values and ideals in young minds and dedicated entire lifetimes to the noble calling of teaching.
Today, the President said, 2,000 Indian faculty members are contributing to teaching and to academic research in Ethiopian universities. Indian academics comprise the largest and among the most valued expatriate teaching communities in Ethiopian universities. We are proud that they serve as a bridge between our respective academic communities. They have fostered linkages and research collaborations between universities and educational institutions in both countries. The President said that every year India welcomes hundreds of Ethiopian students as part of its African scholarship programmes. They come on fully-funded scholarships to carry out research or get a higher degree. This is a shining example of cooperation between two emerging economies. In addition, there is the Pan-African e-Network Project, a milestone in educational and capacity building collaboration between African countries, including of course Ethiopia, and India. It was created in this very city in 2009. Crafted in Addis Ababa eight years ago, it connects 48 countries of Africa to India.
President pointed out that in terms of our demographic profiles, both Ethiopia and India are young countries; 65 per cent of India’s people are below the age of 35; and 64 per cent of Ethiopia’s people are below the age of 25. We have a similar set of challenges. These centre on equipping our young people and our students with the education and skills to compete in the 21st century economy. Above all there is the need to foster an economic model that contributes to local communities, rather than extracts from them. In this, Ethiopia and indeed all of Africa will find India a willing and sensitive partner.
News Update| 1 November 2017| India and Ethiopia Trade Agreement for strengthening and promoting trade and economic cooperation
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the trade Agreement between India and Ethiopia for strengthening and promoting trade and economic co-operation. The trade Agreement was signed on 5th October, 2017 during the State visit of the President of India to Ethiopia from 4th to 6th October, 2017. The trade Agreement will replace the existing trade Agreement signed in 1982. The trade Agreement will provide for all necessary measures to encourage trade, economic cooperation, investment and technical co-operation.