1 to 6 August 2011, Addis Ababa. More than seventy Ambassadors and senior Government Officials of Ethiopia convened in Addis Ababa during the first week of August at a workshop co-organised by UNITAR’s Multilateral Diplomacy Programme (MDP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Ethiopia, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, to share information and benefit from tailor-made briefings on the latest developments in business, trade and economic diplomacy. The topics discussed ranged from economic and commercial diplomacy to international perspectives on culture and tourism, science and technology diplomacy and intercultural communication skills for effective negotiation strategies.

Enhancing leadership skills in the area of economic diplomacy

In addition to the core agenda, the workshop also provided for intensive practical skills development sessions on competencies that are crucial for the success of any diplomat, such as cross-cultural communication and positivity skills training. Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia H.E. Heile-Mariam emphasised the importance of leadership skills for diplomats in the area of economic diplomacy, in order to act more effectively in today’s competitive global economic order. These skills will be crucial for Ethiopia to speed up its economic development, as according to its national growth and transformation plan.

Help foster economic ties between Ethiopia and the world

AmbassadorsMeasures and priorities of business diplomacy vary according to the specific characteristics of the national economy. Hence, UNITAR’s workshop provided an agenda which equally benefited the needs of Ambassadors posted to industrialized, emerging and developing economies. The Ethiopian Ambassador to India H.E. Genet Zewdie for example emphasised the primary importance of technology transfer and capacity building for bilateral trade relations between Ethiopia and India. The Special Envoy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the US H.E. Girma Birru on the other hand pointed out that trade relations between huge companies were at the heart of business diplomacy between the US and Ethiopia. All of the participants, however, agreed that an improved knowledge on business and trade diplomacy will boost Ethiopia’s trade relations and help enhance its economic standing in the world.