Russia cancels Ethiopia’s $162Mn debt to strengthen ties

One of the world’s largest countries, Russia has canceled Ethiopia’s debt worth about $162 million. The debt write-off comes as Ethiopia and Russia prepare to celebrate 120 years of diplomatic relations with a wide array of events.  They are also working on reviving the economic ties that existed between both countries in the 1970s and 1980s when they were both under communist rule.

“Russia sees huge opportunities to elevate its cooperation with Ethiopia at bilateral regional and international levels. And it is also desirous to serve additional boost to Ethiopia’s infrastructural development such as hydropower, energy, and others,” said Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his visit to Ethiopia.

Lavrov also announced that his country is also desirous to make Ethiopia center of excellence in science and technology in Africa. It seeks to enhance engagement in the development of nuclear energy facility in Ethiopia. As part of a way of cementing the growing ties and promote people to people relations between the two countries, they will resume daily flights from Addis Ababa to Moscow.

“We’ve agreed to give an additional boost to the work of intergovernmental commission for the sake of implementing joint projects in a number of domains such as energy including nuclear, hydropower, biological research, direct flight connections and many others,” said Lavrov.

Russia and Ethiopia are also drafting intergovernmental agreements in the area of military-technical cooperation and education.

“We have discussed the training of two groups of Ethiopian diplomats, postgraduate courses at the Diplomatic Academy of Russia’s Foreign Ministry. We have delved into cooperation in the area of a military technical field. Additional intergovernmental agreements, memorandums are being drafted on all mentioned agreements to strengthen the contractual basis of contacts,” he said.

The strengthening of ties by both countries come at a time when Russia is warming up to host the world cup. Ethiopia is expected to see an increase in revenue from its Ethiopian airlines during this period. This is because a lot of Africans would fly with Ethiopian airline in order to go and watch the world cup scheduled to hold from 14th of June to 15th of July 2018.

According to history, the then Soviet Union was among the five countries that opposed Italy’s idea of colonizing Ethiopia. It was also reported that members of the Russian red cross were supporting Ethiopian patriots during the battle of Adwa.