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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Ethiopian PM Heads for France to Strengthen Economic Ties

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is due in Paris on Thursday for his first-ever official visit to France, aimed at boosting languishing economic ties and trade now dominated by coffee exports.

Meles, the first Ethiopian government chief to travel to France on an official bilateral tour since the reign of former emperor Haile Selassie, wants to see Paris move up from 11th position as a trading partner, officials said.

"One of the main purposes of the visit will be to strengthen the economic relationship between the two countries, achieve more markets for Ethiopian goods in France and have more French investment in Ethiopia," said Grum Abaye, an Ethiopian foreign ministry official.

Last year, trade between the two countries amounted to some 64.4 million dollars (50 million euros) compared to 200 million dollars (155 million euros) between the impoverished Horn of Africa nation and China.

Both sides would like to see those numbers improved.

The Tocqueville Connection

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