I rise to acknowledge, the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Canada and the 24th Anniversary of the Victory of Ginbot-20: A national holiday in Ethiopia which was observed last week on May 28, 2015.
I commend Her Excellency Birtukan Ayano Dadi and her team for their contributions and continued support to fostering a positive and collaborative working relationship between both countries.
Earlier this year, I had the great pleasure of visiting Ethiopia when I led a delegation of the Canadian Business Mission from February 21-25. This was the first Canadian trade and investment mission to this country and it was a wonderful example of the collaboration between the Ethiopian Embassy in Ottawa and the Canadian Embassy in Addis Abba. The mission was organized as a strategy to engage Canadian companies that have shown interest to visit Ethiopia to further analyze investment and trading opportunities based on the information that was determined from the Canada – Africa Business Summit that took place last year in Toronto. This delegation was also part of the various programs that mark the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Canada and Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is a thriving country with over 94 million people, and I was inspired by the infinite opportunities that was presented and envisioned with every stop we made during the mission.
During my trip, it was enlightening to learn first-hand about the business opportunities in the sectors of Agriculture and Agro-processing, energy, finance, mining, housing and ICT. A few Canadian firms have expressed interest in investing and doing business in Ethiopia, creating much necessary jobs for Canadians as well as the youth of Ethiopia.
Honourable Senators, thirty years ago, Ethiopia was dealing with a serious drought, today, Ethiopia is the 5th largest economy in Africa and the country is in a period of rapid growth. Canada is committed to see Ethiopia develop and focuses its support on economic growth and boosting investment opportunities in the trade, energy and mining industries.
To that end, in 2014, Ethiopia was identified as a key recipient for Government of Canada’s international development opportunities. And Canada ranks third for Ethiopia’s largest bilateral donors.
But this is not a one-sided relationship. Export Development Canada outlines that Ethiopia imports goods worth $137 million from Canada. The main imports are capital goods, food, beverage, tobacco, and fuels.
And based on what I learned and experienced during my trip, I remain optimistic about the prospects for fostering further mutually beneficial Canada-Ethiopia commercial relations.
Honourable Senators, I am pleased to have H.E. Ambassador Birtukan Ayano Dadi here with us today. We look forward to 50 more years of collaboration and securing mutual benefits that will advance opportunities and promote economic development between both countries.