Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, inaugurated the Ethiopian embassy in Abu Dhabi this week accompanied by the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, after more than a decade of productive relations.
The new embassy building is located in the Al Bateen area in Abu Dhabi, and will compliment and supercede many of the responsibilities of the older Ethiopian consulate in Dubai.
Dr Adhanom thanked Sheikh Abdullah for his attendance, and stressed the importance of the opening in Abu Dhabi, ten years after the opening of a consular office in Dubai in 2004.
Sheikh Abdullah thanked the more than 62,000 Ethiopians residing in the UAE, many of whom were in attendance at the event, for their efforts and positive influence in the UAE.
Trade between Ethiopia and the UAE soared from $123m to $934.5m between 2002 and 2011, and Dubai, through its chamber of commerce, has registered 318 Ethiopian companies in the emirate, and also opened its first office in Africa in Addis Ababa in 2013.
UAE’s investment in Ethiopia has seen 38% of projects focus on manufacturing, 27% on real estate, 23% on agriculture, and 12% split across education, construction and others activities.
The embassy ceremony was also attended by Shaikh Faisal bin Saqr al-Qasimi, chairman of Julphar, a Ras Al Khaimah pharmaceutical firm that established its first overseas plant in Ethiopia at a cost of $9.6m in 2013, with an annual production capacity of 700 million tablet and capsules.
Apart from their growing trade and investment relations Ethiopia and the UAE also cooperate extensively in the fight against piracy and anti-terrorism activities.
In 2013, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) also signed a $10m loan for a road-building project in Ethiopia, where huge projects are also currently underway to expand the countries 70,000km road network, including 400km of planned road in the Benishangul region.
In three years, Ethiopia also expects to generate 10GW of hydro-electric power in Benishangul with the construction of the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
The country is meanwhile looking to potentiate up to 1,000MW of geothermal energy over the next decade at the Corbetti Caldera, while continuing to explore the potential of the Central Ethiopian Rift.