Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa, March 4, 2013 (WIC) - This week, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, was in Addis Ababa for talks with Prime Minister Hailemariam and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Ato Sufian Ahmed.

The discussions with the Prime Minister focused on ways to further enhance existing people-to-people relations and the importance of strengthening the activities of investors from Saudi Arabia, particularly in agricultural developments.

Dr. Al-Assaf said that the Saudi Arabian government was keen to work closely with Ethiopia to further enhance existing relations in trade and investment. He said his government gives support to Saudi Arabian investors to help them engage in different sectors, and efforts are being made to increase the market share of agricultural exports from Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia.

He emphasized that avoidance of double taxation will help to increase bilateral relations.

Prime Minister Hailemariam said Ethiopian products were in great demand in the Middle East and the government would provide all necessary assistance for Saudi Arabian investors in Ethiopia.

During his visit, Dr Al-Assaf also signed agreements with Ato Sufian on the prevention of tax evasion and the avoidance of double taxation. Minister Sufian noted that this would contribute to the enhancement of foreign capital, domestic productivity, investment, skill and technology transfer, and trade and export, helping to create a conducive environment for investment and economic growth.

Dr. Al-Assaf said the agreements will support Ethiopia's development endeavors and further boost trade and investment ties. Dr. Al-Assaf noted that the volume of trade between Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia had increased from US$55 million to US$226 million.

On Thursday, two loan agreements were signed with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). 

The agreement with BADEA was US$10 million and the agreement with the Saudi Fund for Development was US$15 million (SR56.25 million).

According to MoFA,  these will provide support for the implementation of the Gode-Kabridahar Rural Electrification Project, co-financed by the two development partners, to supply electric power supply to rural areas in the Somali Regional State.