President Ram Nath Kovind of India has started his first overseas visit toAfrica, Ethiopia on Wednesday (October 5) where the two countries inked major cooperation agreements in the areas of Bilateral Trade, Information, Communication and Media and signed Memorandum of Understanding to set up a "Joint Working Group on Combating International Terrorism and International Crime." The signing of the cooperation agreements is expected to provide the two countries an important framework to further reinforce the strategic partnership to a new level.
During the bilateral talks with his counterpart Dr. Mulatu Teshome noted that President Ram Nath Kovind's first overseas visit to Ethiopia was a testimony to the historical and longstanding relations between the two countries. President Mulatu underscored that Ethiopia always highly values its relation with India, Particularly in the area of investment, trade and development assistance in the form of soft loans and technical cooperation. He noted India is one of the largest sources of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). To date, there have been a total of 435 Indian projects in Ethiopia, in operation and implementation stage. Those projects with a total capital of more than 10 Billion birr create more than 50,000 employment opportunities for Ethiopian citizens.
President Ram Nath Kovind said, "I am very glad that my first overseas visit is to Africa where India shares remarkably common histories and aspirations with." Recalling his visit to the National Museum, particularly to the remains of Lucy (Dinknesh), he noted that Ethiopia and India share immense commonalities as a cradle of civilization and the origin of human beings and humanity. Commending the transparency, incentives and encouragement of the Government of Ethiopia to Indian investors, the President stressed on the need to explore and diversify more areas of cooperation to further bolster the ties.
The two sides have also agreed to work on priority sectors, mainly in light manufacturing (textile and leather products), agriculture and agro processing, mining, etc.