"This business dialogue has helped us in bridging gaps between our business communities. Most important, it has identified actions the two governments could take to further facilitate investments and trade - be it in the realm of visa policies, banking procedures and laws, or customs regulations and practices. Both governments want to create an enabling environment. For this, we value the specific recommendations made by our business communities today," he said, at the India-Ethiopia Business Dialogue in Ethiopia.
"I must call upon Ethiopia and India to work together to push for reforms in institutions of international financial and monetary governance, and make these relevant to our age. As India and Ethiopia strive together for a more equitable and contemporary global economic architecture. We owe this to the young people in our countries, who will inherit the future," President Kovind added.
"The Indian economy is in the early stages of an exciting journey. Ambitious policy measures such as the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) have made doing business in India easier."
President Kovind further said, "The GST has unified the Indian market, hitherto segmented among multiple states and tax jurisdictions. Under our flagship programmes, like Make in India and Start-up India, we have made concerted efforts to attract technology, investments and best practices from across the world."
"Ethiopia and India are old civilisations with young populations. Ethiopia is the cradle of humankind. Earlier today, at the National Museum in this city, I was privileged to get a glimpse of the remains of Lucy, who is in a sense our common mother," the President said.
Terming India's relationship with Ethiopia as "symbolic of its engagement with the African continent", of which Addis Ababa is such a vital hub, President Kovind said, "India's bilateral partnership with Ethiopia is deep and wide. In the past seven decades, our diplomatic engagement has helped us collaborate in virtually every avenue of human activity. Both our governments have identified trade and economic relations as a priority for the near future. The economic relationship covers trade, private investment, concessional loans for infrastructure projects and development assistance, largely for capacity building."
Referring to the earliest recorded evidence of our bilateral commercial engagement, President Kovind added, "Our countries have been trading with each other for centuries. The trade relations between Ethiopia and India flourished during the ancient Axumite Empire from the 1st century AD."
"I would like to congratulate the Indian Business Forum (or IBF) that represents this community. It is playing a leading role in encouraging Indian investment and promoting trade and commerce between India and Ethiopia. I understand the IBF was set up in 2005 and is marking its 12th anniversary. I am also happy to learn that this forum is the first partner-country forum of its kind in Ethiopia and represents more than 100 Indian companies," President Kovind stated.
India is now among the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia. Indian investment has made a mark in textile and garments, engineering, plastics, water management, consultancy and ICT, education, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Indian investments in Ethiopia have had a significant presence in manufacturing and value addition to local resources.
The President stated, "Ethiopia has been the largest recipient of Indian concessional lines of credit in Africa with over USD 1 billion committed to projects in power transmission and sugar. I am happy to learn that the Finchaa sugar project has been completed and handed over to the Ethiopian side. Two other projects in the sugar sector have also gone into production, and are expected to be handed over shortly."
"Both Ethiopia and India have young populations. Our youth are our greatest resource. But to realise their potential, we need to educate them and give them the skills needed to become productive in an increasingly complex world. After all, the building of a 21st century economy requires the building of human capital - and equipping it for 21st century economic realities," he concluded. (ANI)