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New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) Lines of Credit worth more than $1 billion extended by India to Ethiopia have helped the landlocked country build its sugar and power industries and rail network, Ambassador Gennet Zewide said here Monday.
These three sectors together have an employment potential of 50,000 jobs, she added.
"The Ethiopian government has a clear policy to be a middle income country by 2023-25. Every five years, it has its own programme. For 2011-15 we have the programme to transfer our economy from agriculture to that of industry. Hence both electricity and sugar are very important," Zewide said, addressing the 10th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership.
The EXIM Bank has been extending credit to Ethiopia for about eight years. Till date, more than $1 billion in Lines of Credit have been provided for the development of three sugar companies in the Horn of Africa country.
"Ethiopia has been net importer of sugar for so many years. We were the third largest importer of sugar. Earlier $200-300 million annually was spent on sugar but after the line of credit came in we are not importing sugar. We are rather selling. By 2015 we are going to be net exporter of sugar. We will export to European Union countries," Zewide said.
"We will have 2,000 MW of electricity generation as co-generation from sugar and 3 lakh tonnes of ethanol generation," she added.
Zewide said the rural areas in the country often face difficulties due to unavailability of electricity -- especially, the hospital and the education sectors are most hit. "We have a programme of electrifying our village by 2015. We are electrifying 87 towns and villages in the rural area. It means a lot in terms of hospital and education."
Talking about a rail link between the Ethiopian city of Asaita and the port city of Tadjourah in neighbouring Djibouti, she said: "So far we are negotiating and we are talking... and hopefully, it will be pretty soon finalised to get a line of $600 million and $400 million, totalling $1 billion for the project."
She said the rail link will drastically bring down the transportation cost of goods and services.