Ethiopia asks for more investment, Germany asks for more openness

Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn asked Germany’s chancellor to increase her country’s investment in Ethiopia. Merkel visited Ethiopia last Tuesday at the conclusion of a three-legged Africa tour, which also included Mali and Niger.

Currently, some 35 German companies are active in Ethiopia in the fields of agriculture, pharmaceuticals, logistics, floriculture and transport but compared to Turkey and China Germany’s investment in Ethiopia is very small.

Germany’s exports to Ethiopia increased by 77 percent between 2013 and 2015, with the current trade volume leaping to over 300 million Euros per year.

“Ms. Chancellor we are doing good jobs in expanding our industries that are bringing development to my country and we need your country’s investment in here. As you are doing a big job in training vocational students which are key to the manufacturing work we also need you investors to do something here that benefits them and us,’’ the PM said.

Merkel said that her country will do its best to support Ethiopia’s development.

‘’We strongly believe that our investment here in Ethiopia should increase from what we have already invested, and we will encourage German investors to come by collaborating with them in a co-financing system.’’

Merkel said she appreciated the commitment and the management of the Ethiopian government in handling the last drought which affected millions of people in rural areas.

The chancellor recommended that Hailemariam Desalegn open free dialogue with opposition parties and civic associations to solve political or economical  problems.

“I would always argue for allowing people of  different political opinions and expressions to engage with the government and allowing  them to express their views because, after all, a democratic experience shows that out of these discussions good solutions usually come,” she said.

” Stability in Ethiopia is important not just for its strategic allegiances with Western partners. It is also home to the African Union,” she added.

“We are already working in Oromia to de-escalate the situation there by offering mediation between groups and we are talking with the Ethiopian government about  our experience with handling violence,” Ms Merkel said.

The German chancellor has called on African states to do more to stem migration to Europe and address the rise of Islamic extremism.

Prime Minister Hailemariam who was asked by a German Journalist about the current unrest and the killing of innocent people during protests said, “the government is using proportional responses when it faced armed people action .’’

“We have not take action on those protesters who had no weapon in their hands but we took action when we faced fire from the armed and extremist people.’’

And the PM said that the country is in process of democracy building and many things are yet to be done.

“We want to reform the electoral system so the voices of those who are not represented can also be heard in parliament and our democratization process is still nascent. It’s fledgling and we want to go further in opening up political space and engagement with civil society groups.”

In her official visit to Ethiopia Merkel officially opened a new AU facility partially funded by the German government.

Julius Nyerere Peace and Security Building, financed entirely by the German Federal Foreign Office and is built by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) at a cost of 31 million euro.