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Ethiopia
24.11.23 15:35
Personalities

Ethiopia's Ambassador to the Russian Federation: Joining BRICS is in the interest of our country

Uriat Cham Ugala spoke about the benefits Ethiopia sees in joining the alliance

Uriat Cham Ugala is Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the Russian Federation. He holds a degree in economics from Osman University in Eritrea and completed a year-long programme of study in rural development at Cornell University. Since 1990, he has held various positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including Director of the Department of Planning and Budget and Director of North African Headquarters in the Department of African Affairs.

He headed the embassies of the Republic in Japan, Uganda and Ghana. In 2003 he was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the Russian Federation.

In an exclusive interview with TV BRICS, he spoke about the advantages Ethiopia sees for itself in joining BRICS and in what areas Ethiopia would like to develop co-operation with the BRICS member states.

BRICS is one of the fastest growing and most promising global organisations. What role does Ethiopia play in it?

Ethiopia has a lot of experience in multilateral cooperation. BRICS is now made up of five countries - Russia, India, China, Brazil and South Africa. We have interacted with each of these countries individually and also discussed a variety of issues in a multilateral forum. When BRICS was first established, Russia and Ethiopia already had friendly relations. Therefore, we had an opportunity to establish close contacts with other members of the alliance. Joining this organisation is in the interest of our country. Representatives from Ethiopia and myself have been invited to BRICS meetings and forums.

Last year, in 2022, my country participated in the 14th summit, which was held in China. This year, we were invited to South Africa. In early 2023, Ethiopia applied to join BRICS and was approved. In January 2024, our country will join the alliance.

What are the expectations of the Ethiopian leadership with regard to the upcoming BRICS membership?

This is an opportunity for Ethiopia to grow. The BRICS countries account for 40 per cent of the world's population. In addition, the economies of all these countries are growing rapidly. Joining the alliance opens up for Ethiopia broad prospects for co-operation in many different areas. So our leadership has many expectations.

BRICS is an international platform. Here states can discuss topical issues and negotiate. What is the first thing Ethiopia intends to announce?

The headquarters of the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa are located in our capital Addis Ababa. My country is promoting inclusive development in the same way as BRICS. I believe we should join our efforts. There are certain changes taking place in the world now and now we will have the opportunity to voice our opinions.

One of the main ideas of BRICS is that the world should be multipolar. How does the leadership of your country feel about this model?

We fully support this position. We need to co-operate with each other. I believe that by opposing interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, the BRICS promote joint work and mutual respect of peoples. Multipolarity is a big step forward. I think Ethiopia will move in the right direction with other BRICS countries. We already have experience in this field.

What are the main advantages Ethiopia sees for itself in joining BRICS?

The main thing is the opportunity to co-operate with emerging economies. As I have already mentioned, we are currently co-operating on a bilateral basis. We are implementing projects with China, strengthening relations with Russia in the field of investment, trade and tourism. Now we will be able to exchange technologies, for example, in agriculture, which will contribute to the modernisation of this sector. The advantages are many, and the interaction will definitely benefit our country.

In what areas Ethiopia would like to cooperate with the BRICS member states in the first place?

First of all, we plan to increase productivity in agriculture and also co-operate in industry. We would also like to work with the BRICS countries on infrastructure development and co-operate in areas such as energy, information technology and cyber security.

How do you think co-operation between Ethiopia and Russia is developing?

This is a very interesting question. Relations between our countries were established a very long time ago, 125 years ago. At that time Ethiopia was the only independent state in Africa and was the first African country with which Russia concluded diplomatic relations. They have only developed over time. And today I believe that they are stronger than ever. We co-operate at the international level. For example, at the second Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg, our countries concluded five agreements that will help take bilateral relations to an even higher level.

Share your personal impressions about the upcoming BRICS membership.

I think that now is the most appropriate moment for it. Firstly, by joining the alliance, we will be able to contribute to the construction of a multipolar world model, which the BRICS member countries, including Russia and China, are already doing. Ethiopia will also cast its vote in favour of multilateralism. Secondly, joining this organisation will have a positive impact on the economic development of our country.

We have a rich experience of international co-operation. Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. It is a country with a large population, more than 60 per cent of whom are young people. Therefore, I believe that our interaction with the BRICS countries will be very useful. Joining the alliance will boost investment, trade relations and tourism. Ethiopian airlines' planes are already flying to Russia and now the tourism sector will only expand. Therefore, I am very happy that my country will be part of the BRICS group.

Photo: TV BRICS

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