The Prime Minister underlines need for more effective and competitive economic diplomacy

Following the annual Conference of Ambassadors, Consul Generals and Director-Generals of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was wrapped up over the weekend, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn held discussions with participants on Tuesday (September 12).  He briefed the Ministry's officials on the Government's noteworthy efforts to sustain the country's remarkable economic growth over the previous fiscal year, noting that despite some of the negative problems of the last year in some parts of the country, the economic performance had remained highly effective.

The Prime Minister praised the success of the Ministry in expanding the country's influence in bilateral and multilateral diplomatic spheres. Equally, he underlined the need to adopt a more creative and globally competitive way of doing diplomacy in the areas of business and economic diplomacy. He said this would involve a deeper commitment of Ethiopian diplomats assigned abroad to find new ways of attracting foreign direct investment, of searching for potential investors and for fast-tracking technology transfer under the guidelines set out in the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II). He reminded senior diplomats of the importance of finding ‘anchor investors' who would focus on selective areas like light manufacturing industries, leather and leather products, animal husbandry and agriculture as well as fruit and vegetables.

Prime Minister Hailemariam added that building up the human resources and institutional capacity of the ministry, providing research-based economic diplomacy as well as knowledge and technology transfer and communication and public diplomacy to reinforce the dynamism that are needed to effectively implement national priorities in foreign relations is compulsory. He underlined the importance of forging strategic links between the Ministry, sector bureaus and other pertinent stakeholders. The Ministry should work closely with other high-level and research institutions. There was a need for communication; public diplomacy was essential in order for scholars, traders and investors to understand the external relations of the country.

He made it clear that Ethiopia, under the umbrella of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), would toughen up its efforts of maintaining peace and security in the Horn of Africa. He noted that Ethiopia was working closely with Djibouti and Sudan and stressed that South Sudan and Somalia remained countries to be given due attention in respect to Ethiopia's role in regional peace and stability. Ethiopia, he added, remained neutral in dealing with the current situation in the Middle East.

Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu noted that the Ministry had identified the gaps that needed to be filled and the strengths that needed to be properly exploited to best achieve the Ministry's goals and serve the national interest of the country. Dr. Workneh noted the Ministry had already embarked on implementing studies sponsored by the Ministry taking into account realities on the ground along with best experiences of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of other countries. Representatives of different Ethiopian Embassies abroad pledged to put the country's diplomacy into top gear.