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Monday, 12 November, 2018, 12 : 27 PM [IST]

‘India is the second most important source of imports for Ethiopia’

With diplomatic relations between India and Ethiopia completing 70 years, Demeke Atnafu Ambulo, Consul General, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Mumbai, in an interaction with Disha Shah Ghosh talks about the significance of these ties across varied sectors. He also shares how direct air access by Ethiopian Airlines and visa on arrival facility has been instrumental in connecting the two nations.
Q Ethiopia & India share diplomatic ties that are 70 years old. How has this relationship matured over business, investment, trade & tourism sectors?
A. India and Ethiopia have long-standing economic and commercial relations, which are centuries old. During the Axumite Kingdom, Indian traders had links with the ancient port of Adulis in the eastern part of Ethiopia and traded silk and spices for gold and ivory.

In recent years, with the opening up of the Ethiopian economy, business ties between the two countries have grown significantly, especially in the areas of trade, investment, agriculture and infrastructure projects. The economic dimension of the bilateral relationship has now become most important.

Bilateral trade in 2015 stood at USD 1.2 billion, of which India’s exports to Ethiopia were over USD 1.15 billion and imports were USD 65 million. India is the second most important source of imports for Ethiopia, contributing 7.4% of all of Ethiopia’s imports next to China.

With regard to investment, Indian companies maintained their reputation as being in the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia with newer Indian multinationals marking their presence in Ethiopia.

Q Ethiopia is called the Land of Origin; not many in India are aware of this significance. Please elaborate on reasons for this distinction.
Ethiopia is ancient and oldest country, with unique cultural heritage. The country is believed to be the origin of much more:
  • The origin of humankind; home of the earliest remains of human ancestors ever found - the first being which routinely walked on two feet named ‘Lucy’, 3.5 million years old.
  • The origin or birthplace of the wild coffee plant, Coffee derived its name from place it founded Keffa, a province in Southwestern Ethiopia.
  • The origin of the Blue Nile, longest river of the planet.
  • Ethiopia is also believed to be the depository of the lost Biblical Ark of the Covenant, stored in the securely guarded Chapel of the Tablet next to the St. Mary of Zion Church in ancient Aksum.
  • The Nechisar Nightjar, the elusive endemic to Nech Sar National Park in southern Ethiopia, is the home to world’s rarest bird species.
  • Ethiopia is the only African country that was not colonized. Its capital, Addis Ababa, is the diplomatic capital of Africa being the headquarters of the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa as well as other regional and international organisations that make it the third diplomatic hub in the world.
Q Ethiopia enjoys direct air connections to India by Ethiopian Airlines, which is an advantage not enjoyed by a large number of African nations. How has this benefitted bilateral tourism & business travel from India?
Living its motto of Bringing Africa together and Beyond, Ethiopian has created a missing link through its best African network to 58 cities and more than 100 international passenger and cargo destinations. With its geocentric advantage, located amidst of the fastest trade lane, Ethiopian currently offers convenient network of connectivity between Africa, and India, double daily flights from Addis to Mumbai and Delhi each. This has greatly contributed to the growth of trade, investments and tourism ties between Africa and India in particular, and with the rest of the world in general.

Travel to Ethiopia from India is easy with daily Ethiopian Airlines direct service and connecting flights from Addis to many destinations in Africa and around the world.

Q Indian tourists enjoy visa on arrival to Ethiopia. Where does India rank in terms of global priority ranking for tourism & business travel to Ethiopia?
India is one of 36 countries enjoying visa on arrival to Ethiopia. India along with the other countries was accorded such preferential due to steadily spurring business and Investment ties.

The only 10 experiences that will change tourists forever travelling in Ethiopia are:
  • Meet your ancient ancestor the hominoid skeleton ‘Lucy’ at the National Museum.
  • Marvel at the mystical churches of Lalibela, hand-hewn from rock to create the Jerusalem of Africa.
  • Find out where the biblical Ark of the Covenant is kept in Aksum and walk in the footsteps of the Queen of Sheba.
  • Visit the castles of Gondar, unique in Africa, and go back to a time of powerful kings.
  • Discover the astonishing mix of ethnic groups in Southern Ethiopia and learn about their traditional ways of living.
  • Wander in colourful Harar, the old walled city of more than 80 mosques, and the fourth most holy site in Islam.
  • Trek the Simien Mountains, the Roof of Africa, and enjoy endless vistas or hike in Gheralta to experience the spirituality of centuries old churches dotted among steep pink cliffs.
  • Explore the out-of-this-world landscapes of the Danakil Depression, the lowest and hottest place on Earth, and climb the Erta Ale volcano.
  • Tour the lakes and parks along the Great Rift Valley – the only geographical feature visible from the moon.
  • Take a boat trip on Lake Tana, the source of the mighty Blue Nile, discover its islands and monasteries.
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