H.E. Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs recently met with H.E Ayana Zewdie, Ethiopian, Minister of State for Trade, to discuss strategic ways on how to further enhance cooperation with Ethiopia, especially across potential investment opportunities in agriculture and food industries. The meeting was held at the Ministry's headquarters in Dubai on the sidelines of the Ethiopian delegation's participation at Gulfood 2018, the world's largest annual food trade show, held from February 18 to 22, 2018 at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
The meeting discussed ways to consolidate cooperation through the exploration of investment opportunities in agriculture, food, tourism, logistics, shipping and air transport. The meeting also included discussions covering available opportunities to reinforce economic and trade ties, as well as developing prospects for joint relations, between the two countries.
Also present during the meeting were H.E. Juma Mohammed Al Kait, the UAE Ministry's Assistant Undersecretary for Foreign Trade Affairs; Hind Al Youha, Director of Investment Department at the Ministry of Economy; and H.E. Tebege Berhe Shook, Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the UAE, along with the official visiting Ethiopian government delegation.
H.E Abdullah Al Saleh said that the UAE places great importance in the move to strengthen trade and economic relations with Ethiopia. He also pointed out that the Ethiopian Market enjoys the availability of rich natural resources and offers a promising opportunity to invest across a number of fields and sectors—all reflecting top priorities in the country's development agenda, foremost of which include agriculture, food security, tourism and transportation sectors.
H.E. further pointed out that investments in the fields of agriculture and food industries are among the prominent sectors that attract UAE investments abroad as the country currently imports about 80 per cent of its food needs. He shared that the Ethiopian market offers promising capabilities in this regard.
The volume of non-oil trade exchange between the two countries recorded a growth of nine per cent last year, reaching USD 874 million in 2016, as compared to the USD 803 million posted in 2015.
For his part, H.E. Ayana Zewdie expressed his country's interest in attracting more UAE investments to its markets, which covers various economic and commercial fields, particularly in agriculture and its agro-based and livestock segments.
Ayana Zwedie added that his country is currently working on developing its industrial capabilities--establishing specialized industrial zones to help attract more quality-based industrial investments, which is seen as an area for fruitful partnerships with the UAE, in light of its extensive experience in this regard.
He pointed out that joint relations between UAE and Ethiopia are witnessing significant economic and commercial activity, further noting that tourism, transport and shipping services are the sectors that offer many promising investment opportunities.
He concluded that Ethiopia's participation at Gulfood 2018 offers an excellent opportunity to hold bilateral meetings at governmental level and with the private sector to review the most important aspects of cooperation.