Editor’s note: despite a growing criticism against Saudi government’s brutal crackdown on Ethiopian migrants, the ruling party just signed an agreement to give more land to Saudi Arabia.
JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS — Saturday 7 December 2013
Ethiopian ambassador Mohammad Kabeera said his country has approved more than 361 investment projects to Saudi Arabia mainly in the agricultural sector.
The envoy said that Saudi Arabia comes at the forefront of the GCC countries investing in Ethiopia, one among several African nations that have been targeted by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Program for Agricultural Investment Abroad.
“We have issued licenses for 361 Saudi investment projects in Ethiopia, 125 of which have begun operations. These projects have created job opportunities for around 35,000 Ethiopians,” he said.
Kabeera said that Ethiopia had formed a national committee responsible for receiving Ethiopians returning from the Kingdom after the crackdown on illegal workers, take them back to their villages and help them find stable jobs mainly in the agriculture sector.
He added that his government had prioritized women and children when issuing travel documents and arranged for their journey home on its expense and through his country’s national airlines.
Anwar Eshki, director of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies, said the Kingdom had done everything to help expatriates correct their status, but some had failed to do so either because of administrative hassles or other reasons.
“The Kingdom initiated the residency-status correction process because it wishes to legalize all its residents,” he said, adding that the Kingdom also wants to create job opportunities for its nationals through the correction process. As a result of the Nitaqat program many young Saudis have been able to find jobs in the private sector.
Saudi Arabia has recently made investments worth SR16 billion in Ethiopia. Ishqi said that these investments will create thousands of jobs and provide food security for Ethiopians.