RAJENDRA GIRI : CONNECTING NEPAL AND ETHIOPIA

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RAJENDRA GIRI : CONNECTING NEPAL AND ETHIOPIA

Nepal and Ethiopia, both having similar political systems, ever-independent, landlocked, and developing countries, have been enjoying the best of relations ever since their diplomatic relation.

Nepal established bilateral relations with Ethiopia, a developing African nation, on April 15, 1971, in its course of expanding diplomacy ties. The two diplomatic nations have shared cardinal relations based on mutual interest and have stood together in international issues. Both countries try each other on their national agenda to get favour and promote the country's interest which has made the diplomatic tie important for both countries.

In terms of political transition both the nations being landlocked and, former monarchies have travelled similar trajectories. Suffering internal conflicts, both Nepal and Ethiopia have struggled with governance and corruption. Today, Nepal, however, has higher GDP per capita and is ahead in the ease of doing business compared to Ethiopia.

As the Honorary Consulate of Ethiopia for Nepal, Rajendra Giri assesses the bilateral relationship between Ethiopia and Nepal as a good one. He further adds that both nations have mutual respect and stand together on international platforms. Nepal and Ethiopia both have been through similar political circumstances. Like Nepal, Ethiopia has also a new federal system of government with around 10% of GDP growth for the last 14 years.

It’s been 51 years since the establishment of bilateral relations between Nepal and Ethiopia. The diplomatic tie and bilateral relations are most important due to recognising and respecting country each. There are non-resident ambassadors from both countries (Nepal's Embassy to Egypt looks after Ethiopia and Ethiopia's Embassy to India looks after Nepal, too). The tie has been very much fruitful for people-to-people and political engagements between Nepal and Ethiopia, he shares.

Since he was appointed the Honorary Consul of Ethiopia to Kathmandu, Nepal, Giri shares that the relations have remained warm, cordial, and excellent, marked by equality, mutual trust, deeper understanding, strong bonds of friendship and solidarity, and growing interactions.

Similarly, the Alliance of Ethiopian Airlines with Nepal Airlines has been pursuing. Likewise, MoU between FNCCI, Nepal, and Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectorial Associations is in progress to have understanding and building investment confidence in businesspersons of Nepal and Ethiopia, he adds.

Despite the establishment of a formal relationship back on April 15, 1971, Nepal and Ethiopia share a marginal size in trade exchange. Giri believes that  the causes behind such setback is distance between the nations which is the major constraint for marginal exchanges.

In 2018, Nepal exported goods worth USD 752 to Ethiopia. The main products that Nepal exported to Ethiopia are blood, antisera, vaccines, toxins, and cultures (USD 409), and interior decorative glassware (USD 343). During the last 23 years, the exports of Nepal to Ethiopia have decreased at an annualized rate of 0.31%, from USD 808 in 1995 to USD 752 in 2018.

In 2018, Ethiopia exported goods worth USD 5,690 to Nepal. The main products that Ethiopia exported to Nepal were dried vegetables (USD 5,690). During the last 23 years, the exports of Ethiopia to Nepal have decreased at an annualised rate of 14.8%, from USD 224,000 in 1995 to USD 5,690 in 2018. Likewise, he adds that Nepal has great advantages in trade from India and China, where the cost of products/services and accessibility are most attractive. Trade and commerce of Nepal are mostly with India due to accessibility and understanding, he opines.

Meanwhile, he also adds that exchange in tourism, hydropower development, and Ethiopian Coffee can help the nations benefit in regards to the areas of economic cooperation.

Nepal can import Ethiopian Coffee in case some businesspersons show their interest. Ethiopia is the origin country of coffee and Ethiopian Coffee has very good branding. The trade volume is not significant so far. However, this is one specific commodity that could help nations come together as Nepalis love coffee, he shares.

Ethiopia is doing great in 3 major aspects: i) development management, ii) hydropower development, and iii) Airlines operation and management, Nepal can iconise Ethiopia in these areas as well, he opines.

Nepal, being a federal nation, so far has hosted two investment summits to pull in foreign investment. However, no investments of both medium or large scale have come in from Ethiopian investors so far.

In regards to attracting Ethiopian investment, Giri adds that investors except power block countries will have problems investing in Nepal due to fundamental or preliminary clearance are problematic like land management from the local and getting FDI status.

Likewise, he shares that the power block countries can influence the government in the investment favour. Nepal has to improve in investment climate ensuring key interests of the investors like FDI, repatriate capital and profit, security, and competitive incentives.

As the Honorary Consul of Ethiopia to Kathmandu, Giri has been working rigorously with a positive role in facilitating business parties and their inquiries at best.  In the meantime, he also has received some inquiries on the import of goods/products but is not materialised yet.

As an Honorary Consul of Ethiopia to Nepal, Giri also represents Honorary Consul Corps Nepal (HCC-N), an association of consuls in Nepal. Regarding, the importance of HCC-N in terms of promoting Nepal’s economic diplomacy, he adds that it is an important organisation and most adventitious to Nepal that Honorary Consuls for other countries being Nepali citizens are doing the economic diplomacy and promotion of countries with loyalty and best interest of Nepal.

Likewise, he adds that the association needs government support to improve diplomatic ties through trade expansion.

The government of Nepal has to recognise, promote, and proactively respond to the important matter of the Honorary Consul Corps Nepal and the Consulate, to have the win-win approach of the Government of Nepal to HCC-N and the Consulates, he adds. 

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