President Sheikh Mohamed in Ethiopia on official visit

UAE leader was greeted by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

President Sheikh Mohamed lands in Addis Ababa on an official visit

President Sheikh Mohamed lands in Addis Ababa on an official visit
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President Sheikh Mohamed has arrived in Ethiopia on an official visit.

Sheikh Mohamed was greeted by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed after touching down at Bole Addis Ababa International Airport, in the country's capital.

An official reception ceremony was held, during which the national anthems of both countries were played and a guard of honour was formed, state news agency Wam reported.

Sheikh Mohamed received a colourful welcome as a group of children chanted greetings while waving the flags of both nations.

The visit is aimed at bolstering ties between the countries.

“I was pleased to meet Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa to discuss strengthening bilateral ties to serve the aspirations of our peoples through economic and sustainable initiatives,” Sheikh Mohamed said, writing on social media.

“The UAE is committed to building bridges of co-operation that foster prosperity and stability for all.”

Sheikh Mohamed and a high-level Emirati delegation held a series of talks to explore opportunities in sectors such as agriculture, food security, energy, trade, investment and technology.

Sheikh Mohamed and Mr Abiy discussed regional and international developments and exchanged views on issues of shared concern, emphasising the importance of building bridges of co-operation and effective partnerships that contribute to improving the quality of life and prosperity of their countries.

The two leaders then went on to witness the signing of agreements related to developing relations.

These included co-operation agreements to combating terrorism, climate change, advancing technology, developing government and modernisation, and co-operation between the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ethiopian Investment Authority, among others.

Sheikh Mohamed also attended the opening of a water and energy exhibition at the Science Museum in Addis Ababa.

There, he was briefed on the latest projects and technological innovations designed to improve sustainability and environmental conservation.

The visiting delegation included Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court; Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs; Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Cop28 President-designate; Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan, Minister of State; and Mohamed Al Rashidi, UAE ambassador to Ethiopia.

From the Ethiopian side, the reception was attended by ministers and senior officials.

Mr Abiy met Sheikh Mohamed in January 2022 during an official trip to the Emirates.

Building on historic ties

The UAE and Ethiopia enjoy a friendship that spans decades.

Sheikh Mohamed's trip reflects the strength of that relationship, Wam reported.

UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the late Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi established foundations for the partnership.

The two sides have forged close links in the years since, buoyed by the opening of the Ethiopian consulate in the Emirates in 2004, followed by the UAE embassy in Addis Ababa in July 2010, and the Ethiopian embassy in Abu Dhabi in 2014.

The UAE-Ethiopian Joint Committee serves as a platform to bolster ties and enhance co-operation in a variety of fields.

The Emirates supports efforts to deliver peace and stability in Ethiopia and has provided more than $5 billion in aid to encourage the nation's development.

It is estimated that 113 Emirati investment projects are currently working in Ethiopia, while the volume of trade exchange between the two nations is estimated to amount to $6 billion, Wam reported on Friday.

“The UAE is one of the most important trade partners in Ethiopia, and trade exchange has witnessed steady growth in the past few years,” Mohamed Al Rashidi, UAE ambassador to Ethiopia, told Wam.

“The UAE and Ethiopia are co-operating in the field of renewable energy, which is an area of mutual interest, especially since the UAE is a major international supporter in the field of renewable energy, while the Ethiopian government seeks to implement its strategy by developing the renewable energy sector to meet its needs.”

Mr Al Rashidi pointed out that Ethiopia is an important investment partner for the UAE in East Africa, given that it has a large and emerging market of more than 100 million people, and has economic potential in several sectors including health, clean energy, technology, communication and others.

In 2022, the value of non-oil trade between the allies reached $1.4 billion.

The UAE has invested $2.9 billion in various Ethiopian sectors, including pharmaceuticals, aluminium, food and beverages, and chemicals.

A major UAE initiative has this week been praised for improving lives after boosting access to safe drinking water for 9,000 people in Ethiopia.

Beyond2020, a humanitarian drive supported by local and international organisations, installed six shallow wells with solar pumps to serve three needy villages in the Dirashe district of the African country.

The assistance aims to reduce incidents of waterborne disease and enhance overall health.

The Beyond2020 initiative was launched by the UAE's Zayed Sustainability Prize to provide sustainable solutions for urgent challenges faced by vulnerable communities around the world.

Dr Al Jaber underlined the importance of ensuring access to clean drinking water for all.

“As we continue to push towards a more sustainable and equitable world, access to safe water remains a fundamental human right,” he said.

“Beyond2020 and its partners are delighted to have been able to improve the livelihoods of three communities in Ethiopia by providing them with access to this essential resource.”

Updated: August 20, 2023, 9:40 PM