Ethiopian Airlines will begin operations from Karachi on March 26, according to Ethiopian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Islamabad, Jemal Beker Abdula.
“At this critical juncture in history, it is essential to unite the two countries,” Ambassador Abdula told Dawn in an exclusive interview.
He stated that the pan-African airline, which already flies to 130 destinations, will serve as a link between Pakistan and Africa.
Since his arrival, Mr. Abdula, the first Ethiopian ambassador to Pakistan, has endeavoured to strengthen people-to-people relations.
In these difficult times, he added, Pakistan, like many other nations, faced obstacles in trade and business affairs, but climate change was wreaking the most harm.
Both the business communities of Pakistan and Ethiopia are keen to enter each other’s markets, according to the ambassador, which bodes well for future trade between the two countries.
“Export is a major concern for Pakistan. We must collaborate with the government and other relevant organisations to enhance Pakistan’s exports to the rest of the globe. This is the right time for Pakistani businessmen to enter the Ethiopian market, which is a gateway to all of Africa with a population of approximately 1.4 billion across 54 countries, according to Mr Abdula, who has set a goal to increase the trade volume between Pakistan and Ethiopia from approximately $80 million to $200 million.
To this end, the ambassador also facilitated a Pakistani business delegation’s March 5-10 trip to Ethiopia to investigate business, trade, and investment potential.
Over 100 representatives of the chambers of business and industry from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, and Sialkot composed the delegation.
“We’re calling it “Exploring trade and economic prospects in the developing African nation of Ethiopia.” It is a turning point in the history of the two brotherly nations, Mr. Abdula stated.
Inviting Pakistani investors to consider establishing operations in Ethiopia, the world’s fastest-growing economy for the past two decades, he cited inexpensive energy, an abundance of trained labour, and a cooperative government as essential factors for developing a successful business.
“Similarly, there is a tremendous demand for pharmaceutical products in Ethiopia, which imported over 80% of its pharmaceutical equipment from around the world and is a great market for Pakistani products. The Pakistani business community’s visit to Ethiopia would provide new trade and investment opportunities in numerous economic sectors, such as textile, pharmaceutical, rice, chemicals, steel, and cement. Similarly, Pakistan might import from Ethiopia coffee, tea, grains, oil seeds, and other agricultural items.”
The envoy also extended an invitation to Pakistanis to visit his nation in an effort to enhance tourism. He stated that Ethiopia was opening up as a destination for Islamic tourism and was taking shape as a nation rich in history and customs.
“Pakistan has quite advanced textile, engineering, and health technologies. After the official opening of the embassy, we intend to sign agreements with the minister of science and technology for which draughts have been agreed upon by both parties. Next week, a trade agreement will be inked to facilitate institutional links, he said, adding that the Ethiopian embassy will open in April and be marked by the signing of memorandums of understanding to further develop ties between the two countries.
Ethiopia attaches the utmost importance to its relations with Pakistan, as the two nations have a long history of cooperating for global peace.
“Many events are occurring. The time has come for the two nations and business groups to collaborate in order to promote entry into the African market. We are discussing the transformation of the trade compositions of the two nations,” he stated.