Trade and Industry Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour declared the allocation of an Egyptian industrial zone just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in a speech during the Egyptian-Ethiopian Business Forum on Saturday.
An Egyptian businessman, according to the minister, had previously submitted a request to Ethiopian authorities to delineate an area from which he could work, as well as obtain the necessary licenses to do business there. This new industrial zone will serve as an area in which Egyptian and Ethiopian investors can launch joint projects.
The fifth Egyptian-Ethiopian Business Forum began on Saturday in Cairo and was organized by the ministry in collaboration with the Ethiopian Egyptian Business Council. During his speech at the opening of the event, Abdel Nour indicated that Ethiopian-Egyptian ties are witnessing significant progress on political and economic levels due to cultural and historical relations.
Abdel Nour also stressed the necessity in unifying efforts to support bilateral cooperation, providing facilities and achieving cooperation with the private sector in order to boost trade ties. The current trade volume for Egypt is US$200 million, but the country is aiming to reach $500 million within the next three years, thus an increase of $300 million in trade for that period.
Forty Ethiopian companies, along with Egyptian companies interested in the Ethiopian market, took part in the forum. The high participation rate demonstrates a desire to cooperate with Egypt, added the minister. He also praised efforts by the Ethiopian government to resolve the issues Egyptian investors face in Addis Ababa, thus encouraging more investment in the Ethiopian market.
Ethiopian Industry Minister Ahmed Abtew discussed several points at the forum, stressing the importance of preparing a joint framework for bilateral economic and trade cooperation on governmental and private sector levels. He also hopes to develop policies that will create a suitable atmosphere to launch partnerships among businessmen from the two countries.
Abtew, in addition, praised efforts by his country's government with regards to targeting economic progress. He indicated that the average Ethiopian economic growth rate was at 9 percent per year, over the past 10 years. He also expressed the desire to engage in more joint cooperation with Egypt in the trade, economic and investment fields.
Ayman Eissa, head of the Egyptian department of the council, said the forum is important in pushing cooperation in economic fields forward, especially in light of the two countries’ mutual interest in developing the partnership. Despite challenges facing bilateral cooperation, the private sector has had a prominent role in this area over the past few years, he added.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm