ENA: Iran eyes enhanced cooperation with Ethiopia in trade and tourism as the two nations have untapped potential in the fields vital to benefiting their economies, says Iranian Ambassador to Ethiopia.
The Ambassador has also lauded efforts being undertaken by the Government of Ethiopia to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Ethiopia, Behzad Khakpour said the trade potential between the two countries is very huge, citing the volume of agricultural products that Iran annually imports from aboard estimates at 8.5 billion USD.
The ambassador stated 8 potential agricultural product items have been identified in Ethiopia that exporters could trade with their Iranian partners.
Oilseeds, live animals, meat and coffee are among the top product items that have huge demand in Iran.
Despite the vast opportunities available for both countries, “the current trade relations between Ethiopia and Iran remain unworthy,” he said.
If the two countries work aggressively to exploit this huge market, Ethiopia could export 300 million USD worth of agricultural products to Iran per annum, he noted.
The ambassador, however, said the current trade that Ethiopia has been transacting with Tehran is only a fifth of the stated amount.
“The Embassy has done a research last year and we understood that there are eight tradable items which can boost the trade between Iran and Ethiopia. Since Iran is one of the 25th big countries in the world while Ethiopia is the 4th big country in the continent, we believe that the trade relations between Iran and Ethiopia could be easily reached to the 300 Million USD per year, which now is one fifth of that amount,” he said.
He further stated that Iran is a potential market for Ethiopian tourism sector, stating that over 10 million Iranian travel to several countries every year, where Ethiopia could be one of the destinations.
The launch of direct flight between Addis Ababa and to Tehran would be beneficial to strengthen the bilateral relations particularly in the fields of tourism and trade.
The ambassador stated that “having direct flight between the two capitals provide opportunities for business and investors to come to Ethiopia with the less hustle and to see what is going on in this country (Ethiopia) and to know what the opportunities are.”
The Embassy is now discussing with the pertinent Ethiopian authorities, on ways of strengthening Ethio-Iran relations notably in the fields of trade, investment and tourism.
Commending the ongoing political and economic reform in Ethiopia, ambassador Behzad Khakpour expressed his belief that all parties in the country including the government, will be able to further underpin the democratization process with due diligence.
He has also lauded efforts being undertaken by the Government of Ethiopia to halt the spread of COVID -19 pandemic in the country, urging all Ethiopians to shore up the government measures mainly in applying the policy of social distancing.
Source: Ethiopia News agency