ETHIOPIA COMMITTED TO AFRICA’S INTEGRATION AGENDA, SAYS P.M.

Ethiopia’s economic and social development activities in the region are testimonies that the nation is fulfilling its share in the Africa integration agenda, says Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn.

Efforts to connect Ethiopia to Djibouti, Sudan, Kenya and South Sudan by power, road and railway infrastructures are examples of its commitment to Africa’s integration, Hailemariam said when addressing the African International Business Forum 2016 in this Egypt Red Sea resort over the weekend.

Besides efforts aimed at bolstering its economy, Ethiopia was working to link up with countries in the region, Hailemariam said.

Referring to the country’s double digit economic growth recorded over the past several years, he added that Ethiopia was undergoing a huge transformation in power, road and other infrastructures and wanted its integration drive to extend beyond the region.

He also confirmed that the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) project on the Blue Nile, which had a huge role to play in realizing the planned economic integration, would also play a part in enabling sustainable development through ensuring the fair sharing of resources.

Reiterating Ethiopia’s long-held stance of shared utilizatiion of the Nile River waters, Hailemarim said the power generated from the dam would facilitate regional integration and promote shared benefits.

Economic development should embrace a transparent policy framework which takes into account objective realities of each country, he said, calling for close collaboration among citizens and institutions of the continent.

Amicable linkages in the political and social fields among the countries would help increase flow of international capital and foreign direct investment to the continent, he said.

Presiding over the opening session of the forum on saturday, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi said Egypt would stand alongside other African countries in supporting the continent’s integration agenda.

The country will also have a say in the implementation of the African Free Trade Area (FTA) initiative, el-Sisi said, noting that over the last five years, Egypt’s investment in Africa had reached eight billion US dollars, with its trade volume also increasing.

According to el-Sisi, Egyptian companies had created a huge number of jobs across the continent and the number was projected to increase over the coming five years.

African Development Bank (AfDB) President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina also expressed the bank’s support for the African integration agenda and development of African nations.

According to Dr. Adesina, the focus would be on empowering Africa, assisting the continent’s drive to become food self-sufficient, expansion of industries and improving livelihoods.

Egypt partnered the African Union (AU) Commission in organizing the forum with the intention of encouraging Africa’s private sector and promoting Africa’s investment potentials, among others.

Source: ENA