Blessed with natural attributes such as natural resources, as well as a young, technically literate population, Ethiopia has all the prerequisites to lead the continent in the future, writes Yerlik Ali.
To begin with I would like to express my personal opinion that as one of the world’s fastest growing economies in the last decade, Ethiopia has considerably strengthened its position as one of the leading countries on the African continent. We all see that Ethiopia’s economy shows steady growth averaging 10 percent a year, fueled by effective economic and political reforms.
When it comes to bilateral relations between our countries, I would like to note that today diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Ethiopia are based on mutual respect and fruitful cooperation. There are good opportunities for further strengthening and enhancing relations between the two countries in the political field, as well as in cultural and economic spheres. Kazakhstan and Ethiopia have good potential for expanding bilateral cooperation in mining, agriculture, infrastructure, medicine, trade, and education.
From my point of view, our two countries have many opportunities for enhancing cooperation on international and regional levels, as well as working together on global issues such as anti-terrorism, human trafficking, drug trafficking, religious extremism, and other global challenges.
It’s worth noting that we regard Ethiopia as a country of opportunities and dynamism. Blessed with natural attributes such as natural resources, as well as a young, technically literate population, Ethiopia has all the prerequisites to lead the continent in the future.
Since we established diplomatic relations in 2011, the cooperation between our two countries progressed significantly. The official visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Erlan Idrissov, to Addis Ababa in 2013 gave a new impetus to the development of cooperation gave. The same year, Kazakhstan was granted the status of the first Observer country from the Central Asian region in the African Union. In December 2014 Kazakhstan opened its Embassy in Addis Ababa and appointed a Permanent Representative to the African Union Commission.
These factors clearly demonstrate that Kazakhstan is interested in development cooperation with the African continent in general and with Ethiopia in particular. We consider Ethiopia as a close partner in the African Continent, in which Addis Ababa plays an important political role as the headquarters for many international and multinational organizations, including the African Union. Kazakhstan’s observer status in the AU has opened up huge opportunities for the development of mutually friendly and beneficial cooperation with all countries of the continent.
In my perspective, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia have some similarities in political and economic terms. To exemplify this point, both countries have diversifying economies and attach great importance to broadening and deepening relations with other countries. We experienced economic success over the previous decade and now we face the similar economic challenges. And there are many ways for us to solve current economic problems. One option is to succumb to protectionism, while the other one is to put faith in cooperation and develop the ability of our citizens to work together in order to achieve success.
In this regard, I especially stress South-South cooperation that is very important to us. We strongly believe that further development in this area has the potential to accelerate industrialization, tackle skills gaps and promote learning and understanding. As noted by the UNDP, this focus is creating new opportunities to support Africa’s emergence.
In 2014, we launched a new initiative to help exchange professional expertise between Kazakhstan and Africa. Through this joint project in conjunction with the UNDP, over 70 professionals from African states, Ethiopia as well, drawn from sectors including public health, agriculture and oil and gas exploration visited Kazakhstan to develop new skills and share experience with their Kazakh peers.
Knowledge transfers such as this will have a genuine impact when deployed back in home countries as best practice becomes commonplace, innovation increases and business relationships are cemented. Professionals in our own country also benefited greatly from the experience of hosting the first international study tours for their peers and the positive feedback we received has shown the appetite for more trips.
The initiative was so successful that a new project: ‘Africa-Kazakhstan Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals’ was adopted last year. The project will promote the sharing of institutional and technical expertise with countries such as Ethiopia, helping to facilitate the move to a more environmentally friendly world which is energy, food and water secure. It is my hope that with our joint expertise, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan can play a leading role in the realization of this ambition.
It is also for this reason that we have put ourselves forward for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2017-2018, where, as the first nation from Central Asia to sit on the council, we would be able to promote the interests of emerging economies.
We also welcomed a similar ambition by our Ethiopian friends to represent interests of African nations for the same tenure.
In conclusion, I would like to highlight that Kazakhstan will continue putting its efforts into further development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Ethiopia as well as other African countries. We will welcome and facilitate new partnerships with all countries across Africa as part of our commitment to achieving a better world for both regions.
I strongly believe that in the face of a challenging economic and political climate, characterized by deteriorating relations between countries and continents, the sharing of skills and expertise, and increased trade and investment will help us weather this storm and become stronger.
Ed.’s Note: The author is the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Ethiopia. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter.