ADDIS ABABA, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday signed various agreements that aimed at further strengthening the overall relations between the two countries.
The agreements signed on Friday as part of the state visit of UAE's Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to Ethiopia emphasized a closer partnership in economic, social as well as political spheres, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Workneh Gebeyehu, and his UAE counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was one of the various agreements signed on Friday.
The MoU, among other things, aimed at establishing a joint committee for consular affairs to address needs and constraints related to the movement of people. It also includes a treaty to waive visa requirement for diplomats from both counties.
The two countries have also signed an MoU on Economic and Technical Cooperation, on Tourism and Cultural Cooperation, which MoFA said would facilitate various forms of economic and technical cooperation, as well as promote tourism, culture and knowledge development.
Ethiopia and the UAE have also signed a 3 billion U.S. dollars loan and investment agreement that aimed to alleviate Ethiopia's ongoing foreign currency shortage.
The financial agreement, which includes a one billion foreign currency support, would enable the the National Bank of Ethiopia to receive a 1 billion U.S. dollar deposit from UAE in a bid to alleviate Ethiopia's ongoing foreign currency shortage.
Investments in industrial park development, Ethiopia's manufacturing sector, healthcare as well as hospitality sector are said to be UAE's major areas of interest through the remaining two billion U.S. dollars.
"These agreements and MoUs would be milestones towards further revitalizing the growing ties between the two countries," the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in statement.
The Crown Prince, who commenced his two-day state visit to Ethiopia on Friday, also held talks with talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, on various bilateral and regional issues that aimed at strengthening socioeconomic as well as political ties of the two countries.
According to Ahmed Shide, Minister of Ethiopian Government Communication Affairs Office, the UAE's Crown Prince's state visit to Ethiopia as of Friday has "brought a major diplomatic success for Ethiopia."
The financial agreement in particular was said to be a major success for the Ethiopian government, which is currently struggling with serious shortage of foreign currency.
The Ethiopian government has recently revealed 13 billion U.S. dollars need to cover expenses for oil importation, private investment, upgrading of existing projects and repayment of external debts in the coming two years.
The ongoing foreign currency shortage has forced the Ethiopian government to consider privatization of some of the most valued public-owned enterprises, including the Ethiopian Airlines group - Africa's fastest growing airline- as well as the state owned Ethio-Telecom, which has more than 65 million subscribers throughout the East African country.