By Staff Reporter
September 27, 2019 (Ezega.com) – Ethiopia hosted the Ethio-Sudan Business Forum, an annual forum meant to boost ties between Sudan and Ethiopia. Held alternately in Sudan and Ethiopia, this is the fifth forum in as many years held by the two countries.
Ethiopia and Sudan have a long history of alternating periods of conflict and cooperation. Following the outbreak of war between Eritrea and Ethiopia in 1998, the two countries opened a new chapter of relations, often described by the two countries as close relations.
The bilateral relationship of the two countries now covers various areas in politics, cultural and economic engagements.
Following the fall of Republic of Sudan’s former president, Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, Ethiopia has been hosting conferences aiming to resolve issues surrounding the disagreement between Sudan’s opposition coalition and the military.
Sudan on her part has recently released Ethiopian prisoners in the country, boosting the current level of political ties significantly.
Besides the strong political engagement between the two neighboring countries, Ethiopia and Sudan are pursuing more and more joint economic cooperation.
In March 2012, al-Bashir announced his support to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), saying his government understands the mutual benefit the project could bring to both Ethiopia and Sudan.
In April 2017, the two sides signed several joint agreements to promote economic relations and strengthen ties between the two countries. Also, in February of the same year, the two countries signed multiple agreements to further boost their cooperation on a range of development activities.
To further accelerate the ongoing economic cooperation and to strengthen the existing ties between them, the two countries have been hosting Ethio-Sudan Business Forum for the past few years.
Taking yearly turns to host the forum, Ethiopia has organized this year’s forum in the presence of ministers, ambassadors, and stakeholders from both sides.
The forum which kicked off in the capital city, Addis Ababa, on September 26, 2019, aims to bring together the two countries in various areas of economic and social cooperation.
In an opening remark, Ethiopia’s Minister of Finance, Ahmed Shide, said Ethio-Sudan Business forum is very important to boost the trade ties between the two countries.
Indicating the difficulties in conducting robust trade between the two countries in spite of number of bilateral agreements, the minster talks about the need to place an emphasis on trade, investments, infrastructure, food security and sustainability livelihood.
Ahemed shide said his focus will not only be improving economic tie between Ethiopia and Sudan, but also the social relationship among the two countries. Current reform and liberalization in Ethiopia would further enhance the relationship, he said.
Wajdi Mirghani, the President of the National Chamber of Exporters of Sudan, on his part thanked Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia for his contribution to promoting peace in Sudan.
The president emphasized about energizing the positive diplomatic ties between the two nations. The strong integration of the two countries would realize east African region solidarity, the President said.
Peace and security challenges are issues that make the political integration an agenda hard to sell in the horn of Africa.
According to the president mediation and integration can only succeed if the countries make serious consultations and institutionalized effort to build inter-state trust.
In this regard institutionalized and financial arrangements, geographic proximity, commonly shared interests and vision should be used to lay foundation of economic integration.
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