Pompeo promises to drive U.S. investments to Ethiopia

The United States Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, who is visiting Ethiopia, promises to encourage and provide support to United States companies aspiring to invest in Ethiopia.

“The United States Government will encourage and provide the required support for U.s investors aspiring to invest in Ethiopia,” he said, appreciating the all-inclusive reform of Ethiopia. Secretary Pompeo made the remark on Tuesday in Addis Ababa at a presser along with his counter part Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, Gedu Andargachew.

Compared to other countries the foreign direct investment of from the United States to Ethiopia is insignificant though the east African country has been the major receipt of United States aid and support in several sectors ranging from health to agricultural sector development, among others. So far the top foreign direct investment sources of Ethiopia are China and India.

The instability of the internal politics in Ethiopia and grave human rights violations in Ethiopia are reportedly mentioned as the push factors for big companies from the United States and the Western countries not to invest in Ethiopia.

“…We agreed on ways of ensuring lasting peace and #security in the Horn of Africa. Apart from discussing ways of better strengthening the two countries relations, we also deliberated on the ongoing all-round reform in Ethiopia in detail. I thank the U.S. Government for planning to make significant financial support for the reform underway in Ethiopia,” Prime Minister Abiy twitted after meeting with Secretary Pompeo.

In the past few years especially following the political and economic reforms led by the reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, investments from the Western world including from North America have been looking for investment opportunities in Ethiopia, which has a market of over 100 million people.

Among the ongoing reforms in Ethiopia include opening of major economic sectors for foreign investors such as telecom, logistics, energy and the airlines businesses, among others. Reports show that the United States has invested over three billion dollars in Ethiopia in three years from 2017 to 2019.

“…I discussed on matters on matters related to strengthening of the bilateral relations between Ethiopia and the U.S., continued support and cooperation in different multilateral issues, as well as ongoing domestic reform in Ethiopia. The reform encourages and drives investors to do business in Ethiopia,” Pompeo said at the press conference he held after meeting Foreign Minister Gedu of Ethiopia.

Reports show that quality investments from the United States have contributed to the growth of countries like South Korea, whose current per capita income is above $25, 000. On the contrary, Ethiopia which used to be military aid provider to South Korea and was in a far better position about six decades back, has now per capita of less than $650 with a third of its population living in extreme poverty though the country has been claiming that it has been following Korean development model.

The relation between Ethiopia and the United States, which was reported to be excellent during the era of Emperor Haile Selassie, was interrupted after the Marxist Derg Regime came to power in Ethiopia and associated itself with the Eastern Block (Soviet Socialist side) during the cold war.

Beyond economic cooperation, Secretary Pompeo has also discussed political affairs of Ethiopia and the region with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. “Great meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali to discuss expanding the U.S.- Ethiopia partnership. I emphasized the importance of free and fair elections in 2020 and our deep appreciation for Ethiopia’s leadership to ensure peace and stability in the Horn of Africa,” Secretary Pompeo twitted.

With the aim of strengthening international cooperation on multiple fronts, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo has been on tour since February 13, 2020. In addition to Ethiopia, his visit involves Germany, Senegal, Angola, Saudi Arabia, and Oman.

After concluding his Ethiopia visit, Secretary Pompeo will be heading to Riyadh to discuss regional and bilateral issues — including Iran, Yemen, and human rights — with the Saudi leadership. Finally he is set to visit the neighboring Oman, according to the information from the State Department of the United States.