Sri Lanka discusses strengthening of bilateral relations with Ethiopia
The government of Sri Lanka is looking at enhancing bilateral relations with Ethiopia and other countries in the Africa Region.
Foreign Ministry Level Virtual Bilateral Consultations were reportedly held recently between the Foreign Ministries of Sri Lanka and Ethiopia.
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena had attached priority to further strengthening ties with countries in the Africa Region, the Foreign Ministry has reportedly stated.
Bilateral Consultations between Sri Lanka and Ethiopia were held for the very first time and the consultations were reportedly focused on strengthening political, economic, social and cultural ties.
The Sri Lanka Delegation was led by Director General of the Africa Affairs of the Foreign Ministry B. Kandeepan and Director General for Asia and the Pacific of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia Asfaw Mollalign.
During the discussions, it was noted that currently three Sri Lankan apparel manufacturing companies and one chemical manufacturing company are operating in Ethiopia with a combined investment of over US$ 15 million and providing employment to over 5,000 Ethiopians, according to local media reports.
It was further noted that there is potential for further investment by Sri Lankan companies in other sectors such as agro processing, hydro power generation and manufacture of apparel and chemicals.
It had also been revealed during the discussion that over 400 Sri Lankan professionals are currently employed in the hospitality and apparel manufacturing sectors in Ethiopia and there are opportunities for skilled employment for Sri Lankans in private sector companies in Ethiopia.
The discussions were focused on enhancing bilateral trade.
Local media reports have further stated that the total trade had stood at US$ 37 million last year. Sri Lanka’s exports to Ethiopia amounted to US$ 36.83 million.
It was noted that there is potential to further expand bilateral trade and it was agreed for the Chambers of Commerce of both countries to conduct studies in this regard.
The government of Sri Lanka is currently engaged in expanding its bilateral and trade ties with foreign countries including the countries in the African region. Many Sri Lankan companies have expanded operations in to the African region. Given the growing opportunities in Sri Lanka as well as the African region, the budding bilateral relations between the nations could be mutually beneficial resulting in the expansion of business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. The island is also fast becoming a business hub in the South Asian region given it’s geographical positioning in the Indian ocean and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country.
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