Deputy PM Demeke Meets Indian Investors in New Delhi

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Demeke Mekonnen has held discussions with Indian investors on Wednesday in New Delhi.

The minister started his four-day official visit on Wednesday. On Thursday he will inaugurate the new Chancery and Residence at Ethiopian Embassy in New Delhi along with India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar.

On his first day of visit to New Delhi, DPM Demeke attended the India-Ethiopia Business Forum meeting organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and the Ethiopian Embassy in New Delhi.

The event was sponsored by Indian companies, M/s. Allana, M/s. Best Garments, Ethio Cement, Goyum Group who have invested in Ethiopia.

At this event, Indian Business Forum (IBF) Ethiopia made a presentation on ‘business and investment opportunities in Ethiopia’.

Some of the Indian companies, who are members of IBF and have their business establishments in Ethiopia, shared their experiences of doing business in Ethiopia and the opportunities of investing in Ethiopia.

The IBF was founded in 2005 with an objective to facilitate Indian businessmen, who are interested to invest in Ethiopia.

The high level visit to India is taking place consequent to the last visit of Foreign Minister of Ethiopia to India in 2008 for the 2nd Joint Commission Meeting held between the two countries.

On Thursday, Demeke will hold further discussion with Dr. Jaishankar at Hyderabad House on Friday morning.

Important visit

The visit is Demeke’s first visit to Asia as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia.

Indian Ambassador Robert Shetkintong welcomed the visit and stated that the growing presence of Indian companies in Ethiopia forms a strong link between the two countries.

It contributes positively to the growing strong partnership between Ethiopia and India, the ambassador added.

To date, there are 607 registered Indian companies in Ethiopia employing 75,000 Ethiopian nationals.

Indian investments are worth about USD 5 billion, out of which USD 3 Billion is estimated to be on the ground, according to Indian Embassy in Ethiopia.

About 58.7% of Indian investment is in the manufacturing sector, followed by agriculture (15.6%), it added.

Indian companies have invested in various sectors like agriculture and floriculture, engineering, plastics, manufacturing, cotton and textiles, water management, pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

Mayur Kothari, convener of Indian Business Forum (IBF) and Chairman of Mohan Group of Companies, based in Addis Ababa welcomed the visit of Demeke to India.

He stated that the visit will bring momentum to the growing bilateral relations between two countries especially in the area of business and commerce.

Economic & trade relations

India is one of the largest trading partners of Ethiopia. During 2019, bilateral trade was about USD 1.2 billion, which slightly dipped to USD 900 million in 2020.

Exports from India mainly include primary and semi-finished iron and steel products, drugs and pharmaceuticals, machinery and instruments, manufacturers of metal, etc.

Major imports by India from Ethiopia are pulses, precious and semi-precious stones, vegetables & seeds, leather and spices.

India is the third most important source of imports for Ethiopia, contributing 8% of all of Ethiopian imports next to China, Kuwait and USA.

Featured Image: The Deputy minister speaking with India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar at the forum on Wednesday.