On an official visit to the ACP Committee of Ambassadors in Brussels on Tuesday, April 16th, the Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, called on the European Union to be more understanding to the need of the ACP countries. He also stressed the need for a strengthening of the unity, the solidarity and the cooperation among ACP countries and regions. He proclaimed his optimism about Africa whose growth has reached an unprecedented level thanks to its attraction of foreign direct investments.

“We must also recognize the importance of solidarity we had built amongst us in the ACP group and the need to strengthen it further. With such sense of solidarity, I am of the view that we would be better placed to rise up to the many challenges that we face as a group of developing countries with limited capacity and resources at our disposal. Issues of global nature, such as climate change, for instance, need solidarity in convincing the developed world to be committed to the efforts of mitigating the effects of carbon emissions.”

He addressed the audience not only as the Head of State of Ethiopia, but also in his capacity as the current Chair of the African Union, at a time when there is an all too palpable sense of optimism, and rightly so, about Africa’s future.

“Thanks to the genuine efforts exerted by Governments to improve the business and investment climate in their respective countries, Africa is attracting foreign direct investment not only from the developed world but even more so from the emerging countries, at an unprecedented scale. In most parts of our continent, regional economic integration processes are being expedited thanks to interconnectivity in infrastructure and free movement of the peoples and goods. I believe, this wind of optimism is also blowing across our Caribbean and Pacific States, whom, we feel, are united with us Africans, with common destiny, history and the similarities of the challenges they face in their quest to bring a change in the lives of their populations. Nonetheless, we should bear in mind that sustaining this trend would not always be an easy task.”

About his own country, the Prime Minister underlined its effort in favor of peace in the neighboring countries, namely Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, as well as for the start of dialogue between his country and Eritrea. He gave information on the Growth and Transformation Plan whose goal is to reach a middle- income status by the year 2025.

In the framework of this plan, the period 2011- 2015 is dedicated to infrastructure development, particularly development of clean energy sources, which have to pass from around 2100 mega watts to 10,000 megawatts and which will enable not only to satisfy the domestic needs , but also to supply electricity to neighboring countries.

As far as the ACP-EU relations are concerned, the Prime Minster of Ethiopia commended the dedication of the EU to the ACP cause but considered that “it is also high time that the European Union, as our traditional development partner be more understanding to the needs of ACP countries in their efforts to diversify their development cooperation, trade and investment ties with the emerging economies.”

The full speech may be viewed here: http://www.acp.int/content/speech-made-he-hailemariam-dessalegn-prime-minister-ethiopia-meeting-acp-group-ambassadors-b