"Indonesia has not been maximizing opportunities for trade cooperation with African countries, whereas China, India and Malaysia have been exploring African markets," he stated here on Friday.
"Ethiopia and other African countries have been growing rapidly, but we have not optimized trade cooperation with them," Saud remarked.
According to the former ambassador, the Indonesian community and business players should change their opinion of Ethiopia as it is no longer the poor country it used to be.
"The general idea about Africa, especially Ethiopia, is that the place is poor, barren, and full of starving people. But now, Ethiopia is an advanced and a modern country, different from the impression we have had all this time," Saud affirmed.
He added that it was high time Indonesia promoted its products in Ethiopia and explored the larger market opportunities in the African region.
"During my term as the ambassador, I introduced some Indonesian products by inviting some Ethiopian business players to shop in Thamrin City in Jakarta. I also promoted the B-29 soap, which is one of Indonesias leading products," Saud noted.
A good approach and promotion of incentives will improve Indonesias trade activities with Ethiopia.
Saud also pointed out that in 2010, trade between Indonesia and Ethiopia amounted to US$62.4 million with a surplus of US$54 million for Indonesia.
After carrying out good promotional activities, in 2014, this value jumped by US$412.2 million, with a surplus of US$393.8 million for Indonesia.
"This indicates how important the African market, especially Ethiopia, is for Indonesia," Saud remarked.