Ethiopia’s ambassador to Turkey has told Anadolu Agency how Turkish investors have created more than 10,000 jobs, with companies up and running in the east African nation often dubbed the “Cradle of Mankind”.
Speaking in Ankara this week, Ambassador Ayalew Gobezie pointed to a deep-rooted history between Turkey and Ethiopia which allowed the two countries to grow financially and politically.
The ambassador highlighted the beginning of relations between Ethiopia and Turkey which go back to the Ottoman Empire.
“The date goes back to 1896, when the Ottoman Empire was ruled by Sultan Abdul Hamid II and Emperor Menelik II ruled the Ethiopian Empire,” said the envoy. “The first Ottoman-Turkish consulate was opened in Ethiopia in 1912.”
Turkey’s first embassy in Sub-Saharan Africa was opened in Ethiopia in 1926.
Ayalew said: “There have been frequent visits by high-level government officials to the two sisterly countries.”
“We can say that Ethiopia and Turkey have excellent bilateral relations which are characterized by ever-growing economic and political ties based on common understanding and mutual respect.”
The ambassador added that the leadership of both states were “fully committed to strengthening” already-existing bilateral relations.
Ayalew recalled the visits to Turkey by the great leader Meles Zenawi in 2007 — who died in August 2012 — and current president Mulatu Teshome in August 2015.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi visited the country back in January 2015, with a number of high-level officials and business people.
“Turkish investor companies like Ayka Addis and BMET Cable, with several others, have set up various investment activities in our country,” said Ayalew.
The envoy highlighted the country’s youthful demographic, saying half Ethiopia’s 100-million-strong population is aged between 15 and 30.
“More than 25 million children in Ethiopia are in primary schools,” Ayalew said. “Most African countries are populated by around 20 million.”
“Our main exporting products are coffee, sesame, oil seeds, flower, spices, pulses, cereals, textile garments, leather and leather products,” said the envoy.
“Almost half of the investments that are coming to Ethiopia are made by Turkish investors,” Ayalew added. “Ethiopia benefits more from Turkey and currently needs more investment from Turkish companies.”
The ambassador also stressed Ethiopia’s cultural richness, including 10 historic and cultural world heritage sites recognized by UNESCO.
“We were also awarded with ‘World Best Tourist Destination Award’ for 2015,” the envoy added, calling on Turks to visit the country.
The country is currently developing hydro-electric, solar, wind and geothermal energy projects. It is also working on sugar, railway, road and industrial park projects with the aim of creating job opportunities for more than 1.2 million people.
Ethiopia has set itself the goal of being a middle-income country by the year 2025.