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Ethiopia has high hopes for direct flights to Japan: PM

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
January 10, 2014

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn during a welcome reception ahead of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama. (AFP)

Nikkei – ADDIS ABABA — Looking to speed its industrialization, Ethiopia is seeking transplants of Japanese technology to help achieve sustainable economic growth, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in an interview.
Hailemariam sees direct Ethiopian Airlines flights to Japan as way to promote investment and personnel exchanges, he told The Nikkei on Monday. He and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are expected to formally agree to open the air route when Abe visits Ethiopia next week. Hailemariam made a personal appeal for the flag carrier last June during his trip to Japan.

Landlocked Ethiopia’s economy is growing at an impressive 7-8% a year but remains dependent on international aid and agriculture.

“We want to accelerate industrialization,” Hailemariam said.

The country aims to raise annual exports of textiles and apparel — a sector starting to attract foreign investment — from $300 million to $1 billion over the next three years.

“The future for the Ethiopian textile and garment industry is very promising,” he said.

On the conflict in neighboring South Sudan between pro- and anti-government forces, Hailemariam said he felt “confident” that an armistice was “not very far” off.

“We’re in contact with both leaders,” he said. “The peace deal will be signed.”

The prime minister called the uprising a “temporary problem” that would not escalate into a civil war.

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