Business delegation returns from Ethiopia visit on high note


A new chapter in Pakistan, Ethiopia bilateral relations

Zubair Qureshi

Pakistani businessmen, traders and entrepreneurs have returned from the ‘historic’ five-day visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after concluding their meetings with the country’s leadership, businessmen, the government officials and local community.

In the words of Zafar Bakhtawari, a leading Pakistani businessman the visit turned out to be a historic one as 71 members of the delegation held crucial talks with their Ethiopian counterparts.

Besides Zafar Bakhtawari, President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, Ibrahim K Tawab, Zahid Mazhar, members of the Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Karachi and other chambers were also part of the Pakistani business delegation. Zafar Bakhtawari said the visit was going to open new avenues of business cooperation and linkages as there existed huge potential in trade, tourism and business between the two countries.

Among the relevant stakeholders, consensus reached on establishment of the industrial park, automotive assembling, textiles, pharma & chemical production plants in Ethiopia, he said.

The credit for this important visit, no doubt, goes to the motivated efforts of the Ethiopian ambassador Jemal Bakr Abdula, said Bakhtawari.

Jemal Bakr Abdula, the ambassador of Ethiopia also termed it a turning point in the Ethiopian-Pakistani diplomatic relations.

“This historic delegation is going to change Ethiopia Pakistan relations landscape altogether,” said Ambassador Jemal, adding “it would open a new chapter of cooperation between the two countries through increased investment, business, trade, tourism and cultural exchange.”

He said Pakistan and Ethiopia were destined to become partners as nothing could stop these two big nations from coming closer to each other. “We have made the history by mobilizing a big trade delegation within six months of the establishment of our Mission in Pakistan,” he noted.

On the first day of the trade delegation’s visit, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia Demeke Mekonnen launched the Ethiopia-Pakistan Business Forum in presence of more than 70 delegates from Pakistan.

Addressing the delegates, Demeke Mekonnen gave an overview of the bilateral, multilateral and regional cooperation between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He underlined the need for strong collaboration between Ethiopia and Pakistan on global security, technology transfer and economy.

The Deputy Prime Minister said Ethiopia attached great importance to Pakistan which played a significant role in the politics of South Asia as well as for the globe due to its geographical location, natural resources, young population and technological advancement.

“We are really grateful to the Government of Pakistan and its people for standing with Ethiopia in its difficult times,” he said while highlighting similarities between the two countries that were heirs of ancient civilizations, shared cultural and political values, had diverse societies and above all important geostrategic locations in the world.

Lelise Neme, Head of the Investment Commission of Ethiopia, also gave an elaborate presentation on the investment opportunities offered by five major economic sectors in Ethiopia including agriculture & agro processing, manufacturing, mining, ICT and tourism.

She informed the delegates about the legal reforms carried out by the Government of Ethiopia for protection of foreign investment, repatriation of dividends, one-window services for investors, incentives and exemption from taxes. Ambassador Jemal said it was a big day in the history of Ethiopia and Pakistan relations as finally the business community of both the countries have been connected to boost bilateral trade.