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By Hanna Zerihun
Ethiopia and South Africa are working to boost trade and investment, integrate their economies, says Ambassador Dr. Shiferaw Teklemariam.
Ambassador Dr. Shiferaw, approa ched by The Ethiopian Herald, said that the total trade volume between Ethiopia and South Africa stood at more than 166 million USD in 2016, a figure much lower in relation to the potential. “Growth in bilateral trade exchanges of Ethiopia and South Africa has not seen concomitant increase both in terms of volume and capital,” he added.
According to Dr. Shiferaw, in terms of FDI flow from South Africa to Ethiopia in the past years, until September last year Ethiopia had licensed 58 South African investment projects with a total capital of more than 1 billion Birr. Some of the companies operating in Ethiopia are PPC (Cement), Tiger Brands (Packa ging Materials), Mckinsey and Company (Industrial Technical Consultancy service), Group Five Construction (General Construction), and Standard Bank (representative office).
The Ambassador mentioned that the two countries had signed a Declaration of Intent in March 1998 and a General Co-operation Agreement in March 2004.Also they had managed to stage five Senior Experts’ Meetings and three Joint Ministerial Commission Meetings.
Hence, getting the best out of signed economic related agreements and exploring more areas of cooperation in this sphere is a timely agenda in the bilateral relations of the two countries. “In terms of setting priorities, both countries need to cooperate in the areas of energy, education and science and technology.”
There are also joint interests to elevate the Joint Ministerial Commission forums to Higher Level Commission forums where leaders of both countries will play a guiding role in terms of shaping and strengthening relations and laying the ground in a bid the people-to-people relations gain momentum, as per the Ambassador.
Given South Africa’s immense experiences in mineral extraction, Ethiopia has initiated a draft agreement on Exploration, Mining, Geology and Mineral Beneficiation Cooperation between the two countries. Upon entering into force of this agreement, which is expected to be signed in the next couple of months, the bilateral cooperation in the sector is expected to exhibit qualitative changes.
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