ADDIS ABABA: India’s ties with Ethiopia is symbolic of its engagement with Africa, President Ram Nath Kovind said as he invited business stake-holders from the region to partner with India and benefit from them.
Addressing the India-Ethiopia Business Dialogue, organised to commemorate the 12th Anniversary of the India Business Forum here yesterday, the president said 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,” he said, noting that the economic ties now covers trade, private investment, concessional loans for infrastructure projects and development assistance, largely for capacity building.
President Kovind 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.
He recalled that at the Third India Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in 2015, India had announced the offer of concessional credit of USD 10 billion over the next five years to Africa.
“We have also committed to a grant assistance of USD 600 million that will include an India-Africa Development Fund of USD 100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of USD 10 million. The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor is another initiative brimming with potential,” the president added.
He invited business stake-holders in Ethiopia and Africa to partner India in these frameworks and benefit from them.
The president pointed out that India is now among the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia.
“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 said.
He also congratulated the Indian Business Forum for playing a lead role in encouraging Indian investment and promoting trade and commerce between the two countries.
Earlier in the day, President Kovind visited the Presidential Palace in Addis Ababa and led delegation-level talks with his Ethiopian counterpart Mulatu Teshome.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of two bilateral agreements – the first on Trade Facilitation and the second related to the Information Communication and Media sector.
Later in the evening, President Kovind held talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
During their talks, both leaders affirmed commitment to stronger bilateral ties, according to the official twitter account of the President.
“We have agreed to consider fresh line of credit of USD 195 million for development of Ethiopia’s power transmission,” the president said.
Kovind arrived here from Djibouti on Wednesday on the second leg of his maiden visit abroad. His visit is the first by an Indian president to Ethiopia in 45 years since President V V Giri’s trip in 1972. (AGENCIES)