Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Jemal Beker Abdula, said on Wednesday that Ethiopia’s decision to officially launch its diplomatic mission from Islamabad will help further boost bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries.
In an exclusive interview with APP, he said Ethiopia and Pakistan will develop a legal trade framework that will further incentivize investors from both countries and increase trade volume.
The Ambassador said that diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Pakistan were established in 1958. Thus, since then, the two countries have maintained good relations and strong cooperation and support in matters of international peace and security. . Moreover, Pakistan has also supported Ethiopia in the UN Security Council, so it is giving its full support, and “we are very grateful to Pakistan for that”, he said.
Commenting on Ethiopia’s interest in CPEC, he said CPEC is one of the major infrastructure projects between Pakistan and China. It will connect Pakistan with the rest of the world, adding that Gwadar and Djibouti are the shortest route, and strategically it can connect Pakistan with the rest of Africa. Under the Belt and Road Initiative, the railway project from Djibouti to Addis Ababa has already been completed. He added that Ethiopia is looking into the matter and has a particular interest in the CPEC project.
Responding to a question relating to the visa on arrival policy for Pakistanis, the Ambassador said that one way to make it easier for people to move from place to place and come and invest in Ethiopia is to ensure that their visa process is up-to-date, fast and reliable.
Thus, it is our government policy to facilitate visa procedures for all countries, including Pakistan, who wish to visit Ethiopia.
Earlier, Ethiopian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Redwan Hussain Rameto also said, “Ethiopia is considering providing visa on arrival to businessmen from Pakistan so that they can easily visit the nation. Africa with the aim of exploring business opportunities”.
It is pertinent to mention that the trade volume between Pakistan and Ethiopia is around $63 million. While Ethiopia’s exports to Pakistan amount to approximately $24.6 million, Pakistan’s exports to Ethiopia amount to $38.6 million.
Explaining the volume of trade and economic collaboration between the two countries, the ambassador said it is a central issue where the two countries need to work together and strengthen economic diplomacy. For example, Pakistan has developed Look Africa initiatives. This African initiative is a way for Pakistan to reach the African market.
Africa is a market of 1.2 billion people, and the future of trade now lies in Africa and Asia.
However, the two countries should work hard to improve people-to-people exchanges in all fields, including science and technology, academia, construction industry, pharmacy and clothing.
Ethiopian coffee and tea are delicious and inexpensive, and are said to be exported to Pakistan. Similarly, Pakistani exports of textiles and pharmaceuticals would contribute to the volume of trade as Ethiopia imported significant pharmaceuticals from Pakistan. After setting up factories in Ethiopia, the export goods could be sent to different African countries.
However, “we need to create a legal framework that incentivizes investors, the second also preserves their property rights.”
He further said that Ethiopia and Pakistan could strengthen academic cooperation and that his mission would play its part in initiating educational exchanges as it could enhance capacity building for young people.
Science, innovation and technology are the main sources of development for any country. Pakistan is ready to share its knowledge in engineering, agro-industry, science and technology.
He also expressed deep condolences to Pakistanis who lost their precious lives in the floods and added that the whole world must stand with Pakistan at this critical time.
Commenting on the Tigray issue, he said Ethiopia wanted a political solution through negotiation and peacebuilding.
But the terrorist group TPLF undermined the government’s call and reignited an unwanted war.
In his closing remarks, the ambassador said the Ethiopian government has a constitutional obligation to defend and protect its citizens from the invading group. He called on the international community to pressure the TPLF to continue the AU-led peace dialogue.