Ethiopia Desirous of Tapping Gulf States’ Agricultural-Imports Potential

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Centering activities on Economic Diplomacy, Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been working to exploit the Gulf States’ enormous potential for agricultural imports and investment, Ethiopia’s ambassadors to the respective countries said.

Approached by The Ethiopian Herald while visiting agricultural development activities in various woredas of East Shewa Zone of Oromia State recently, the ambassadors stated that they are working by prioritizing to attract agricultural investment from Gulf States capitalizing on the huge potential and geographic proximity.

Ethiopia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz Ahmed said that the Embassy’s participation in various festivals, including the annual Riyadh Travel Fair is aimed at lobbying for the expansion of the market horizons to the nation’s agricultural export. The participation is also envisioned to promote Ethiopia’s untapped investment opportunities among Saudi companies.

Ambassador Abdulaziz indicated that the geographical proximity and the prevalence of favorable conditions for agricultural investment make Ethiopia one of the biggest producers and exporters of agricultural and animal products to the Kingdom. “Ethiopia’s high soil fertility, the amenability of its climate towards the cultivation of diverse range of crops and the comparative abundance of water supply constitute all the comparative advantages for Saudi’s priority in agricultural investment.”

He noted that Ethiopia’s Embassy in Riyadh and a Consulate General in Jeddah have been partnering with relevant institutions in the country and briefed Saudi companies on Ethiopia’s engagement in the construction of massive infrastructural developments that have lured the attention of many investors. “Now understanding has been created among Saudi companies that they could benefit more from Ethiopia’s favorable policies and substantial investment opportunities in the agriculture sector.”

The ambassador further pointed out that the diplomatic missions have also been hugely engaged in staging various trade missions and discussions with a view to identifying the interest of Saudi agricultural companies and aware them about the potential of the country. The deliberations are also crucial in creating the opportunity for the two countries business communities working together in the agricultural business.

Saying Saudi agricultural firms that are investing in Ethiopia are contributing to the overall economy including in knowledge and technology transfer, Abdulaziz indicated still the latter needs more investment from the Kingdom to provide job opportunities for its ever-growing youth.

Ethiopia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Qatar, Samia Zekaria said on her part that there is a growing interest of Qatari investors to engage in Ethiopia’s rapidly growing economy, particularly in agriculture, sugar production and livestock sector. Ethio-Qatar Joint Technical Committee periodically meet to evaluate the implementation of agreements in different sectors whilst agricultural trade and investment have gained top priority.

Noting Qatar’s growing demand to reduce the dependence on oil revenue and lessening its reliance on the oil industry, Ambassador Samia indicated that the Gulf’s state identifies Ethiopia as the right place to its vision of diversifying the hydrocarbon economy through agricultural investment.

She pointed out that large-scale Qatari agricultural companies have been attracted by Ethiopia’s sustainable economic growth, improved infrastructure, conducive policy, availability of land and abundant labor.

Both diplomats highlighted that providing exports at the desired quality level and diversifying items as well as addressing bureaucratic and infrastructural setbacks could fill the missing link in the Gulf countries’ enormous capital and Ethiopia’s huge opportunities in the agriculture sector.

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