Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of KFED
Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of KFED, and Admasu Nebebe, Ethiopian Minister, after the signing of the agreement. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED) on Tuesday announced the signing of a strategic $100 million (Dh368) partnership agreement with the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance to help promote a culture of innovation and to finance prominent projects in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

The agreement was signed by Hussain Jasim Al Nowais, chairman, KFED and Admasu Nebebe, Ethiopian minister of finance. Also present during the signing were Ali Saad Al Omaira, Acting Charge d’Affaires at the UAE Embassy in Ethiopia and a number of officials from both countries.

“The signing of this agreement with Ethiopia falls in line with the vision of His Highness President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to strengthen cooperation and maintain friendly and strategic partnerships with various countries around the world,” said Al Nowais.

“It also complements the directives issued by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE armed Forces to continuously maintain strong ties with brotherly and friendly countries while also helping them in promoting their economies, which in turn can drive in key growth for the benefit and wellbeing of their people,” he added.

Al Nowais revealed that the new agreement will help pave the way in enhancing innovation and supporting the culture of entrepreneurship in Ethiopia. Al Nowais highlighted that the funding received as part of the agreement will enable the implementation of a series of projects aimed at consolidating the Ethiopian government’s efforts to create a stable and balanced economy while also driving in other benefits like the creation of employment opportunities for the youth, women empowerment and enhanced capacity building for entrepreneurs and local institutions.

“Under this agreement, the KFED looks towards providing the vital elements needed in helping Ethiopians realize and establish their own projects which can play a key role in the move to reinforce their national economy. We also look forward to helping them in promoting sustainable development across the different regions of the country,” Al Nowais said.

Commenting on the fund, minister of finance Nebebe said the allocated $100 million would be supervised and maintained by the country’s Ministry of Innovation and Technology in cooperation with KFED. Nebebe also added that the fund would play a big role in the country’s move towards economic development and stability.

The latest agreement highlights the growing strategic relationship between the UAE and Ethiopia which also saw the visit of Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmad to the UAE back in March, where he met with the Crown Prince discussing a range of mutual bilateral issues. The prime minister also just last week announced plans of sending 50,000 workers to the UAE over the next year to help reduce unemployment among skilled Ethiopian nationals.

The UAE has also played a leading role in brokering peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea, bringing an end to a two-decade conflict between both countries. Last summer saw the visit of both the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea to Abu Dhabi, where they were welcomed by Shaikh Mohammad.