Sri Lanka, Ethiopia to enhance bilateral links | Daily News

Sri Lanka, Ethiopia to enhance bilateral links

Sri Lanka on Wednesday held Foreign Ministry level virtual bilateral consultations with Ethiopia for the first time to strengthen political, economic, social and cultural ties with the East African country.

In keeping with the current policy of the Government, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has attached priority to further strengthening ties with countries in the Africa Region, the Foreign Ministry said.

The Sri Lanka Delegation was led by Foreign Ministry’s Africa Affairs Director General B. Kandeepan and Director General for Asia and the Pacific of Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry Asfaw Mollalign.

It was noted that currently three Sri Lankan apparel manufacturing companies and one chemical manufacturing company are operating in Ethiopia with a combined investment of over US$ 15 million providing employment to over 5,000 Ethiopians. It was noted that there is potential for further investment by Sri Lankan companies in other sectors such as agro processing, hydropower generation and manufacture of apparel and chemicals.

It was revealed that over 400 Sri Lankan professionals are currently employed in the hospitality and apparel manufacturing sectors in Ethiopia and there are opportunities for skilled employment for Sri Lankans in private sector companies in Ethiopia.

The discussions focused on enhancing bilateral trade. The total trade stood at USD 37 million last year. Sri Lanka’s exports to Ethiopia amounted to USD 36.83 million. It was noted that there is potential to further expand bilateral trade and it was agreed for the Chambers of Commerce of both countries to conduct studies in this regard.

Ethiopia expressed keen interest to continue bilateral cooperation in the education and health sectors. Both countries discussed closer cooperation at the multilateral level on areas of mutual interest including Environment and Climate change and implementing SDGs and to intensify cooperation through the African Union. The two countries agreed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Diplomatic Relations in a fitting manner next year.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Sugeeshwara Gunaratna, Senior Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry and Commerce Department officials participated in the meeting.


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