Mitsubishi Aircraft zooms in on Ethiopia
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Group, is said to have a business interest to partner with Ethiopian,with the latterto host the corporation’s regional hub for the entire Africa, The Reporter has learnt.
In an exclusive interview with The Reporter, NagatoNatsume (Prof.), a medical doctor by profession and Ethiopia’s honorary consul to Japan, said that Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation is planning to come to Africa and is about to initiate businessesin Ethiopia.
“President of the corporation is my friend. Mitsubishi wants to expand wings to Africa. When that happens, the company needs to establish a maintenance center somewhere in Africa,” Natsume said.
According to him, Mitsubishi operates regionally in Asia, and has a homegrown airliner: Mitsubishi Regional Jetthat operates across a 3,000 kilometer range.It is also manufacturing passenger jets. According to reports,the passenger jets havea seat capacity of 90 passengers,and are likely to be delivered in 2020.
The financially struggling jetliner is about to spread its wings across Africa where it will establish commercial aircrafts Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) center in Ethiopia. “If things go well, Mitsubishi jet maintenance capabilities and spareparts could be available in Ethiopia, and Addis Ababa could become the hub of Africa for both services,” Natsume said.
When asked about whether any business negotiations might have started, Natsume said that some initial talks were held during the Tokyo International Conference for Africa’s Development (TICAD) Summit which Kenya hosted for the first time since 1993.
Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia HailemariamDessalegn and the then President of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation had discussed business items. Natsume hopes that there are prospects for the business to be realized. He says, by the end of 2022 or 2023, more results are likely to be seen.
Apart from his commitment in the business and social sectors, Natsume perhaps is one of the few foreigners who have been bestowed with the honor of representing Ethiopia abroad as an honorary consul. He addresses himself as “official honorary consul of Ethiopia in Nagoya, Japan”. For a decade, Natsume has been regularly providing medical treatmentfor children affected with cleft lips and cleft palates which are believed to be caused by genetically and environmentally induced factors.
Globally, some 14 million children are believed to be affected by cleft clips and cleft palates and in Ethiopia alone, one in every 672 live births are born with the disease. So far, some 20,000 children have received medical treatments through the Japanese Cleft Palate Foundation, whichNatusme heads as a director.