Tesfa-Alem Tekle, (ST) – As Ethiopia and Egypt ease their long standing dispute over the use of the Nile waters, the two countries are pushing the new chapter of relationships to boost trade and investment ties, officials from the two countries have said.
According to the Egyptian Gazette, Ethiopia business and government officials and their Egyptian counterparts gathered in Cairo on Sunday to discuss and design a strategy for a new flow of trade and investment.
The latest meeting between the two sides comes following the recent visit by Egyptian Prime Minister Esssam Sharaf to Ethiopia which was described as a new chapter of cooperation between the two countries. The visit was also seen as a major step towards healing their decades long dispute over usage of the Nile’s water.
“At today’s meeting, Egyptian officials will explain to Ethiopian businessmen the incentives that are being offered by the Cairo Government to lure capital owners into launching joint ventures hers,” the Egyptian Gazette reported Ayman Eissa, Ethiopian-Egyptian Business Council Association Chairman, as saying.
The joint meeting is expected to launch joint ventures in enhancing bilateral ties in various trade and investment sectors.
Recently Egyptian businessmen visited Ethiopia where they pledged to engage in various businesses and investment in Ethiopia in support of the new atmosphere of relationships opened between the two countries since the North African country saw the downfall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in a popular uprising earlier this year.
Cairo has been at odds other Nile riparian nations over their efforts to overturn colonial era-treaties which grants 55.5 billion cubic meters a year of the Nile’s flow to Egypt out of around 84 billion cubic meters.
Egyptians are currently executing more than 400 projects worth over 1 billion USD in Ethiopia. The trade volume during the past two years is only between 130 and 250 million USD, according to data from the Ethiopian Investment Agency,
Over 30 Egyptian companies have also asked to import meat from Ethiopia. This will also allow Egypt to import a large number of livestock from Ethiopia.