Economic partnership expected to grow stronger
The economic partnership between China and Ethiopia is poised to grow further, following a recent visit to the East African country by Li Zhanshu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
Ethiopia was the destination of Li’s first overseas visit since he assumed office in March, which he said showed the great importance that China attaches to the development of bilateral ties and China-Africa relations.
The top Chinese legislator said China was willing to work with Ethiopia to deepen mutual political trust and strengthen practical cooperation, as well as constantly elevate friendship and cooperation between the two nations.
“Ethiopia and China are at a new point of relations, and my visit to the country reaffirms China’s interest in supporting the new Ethiopian government. The recent peaceful transition of power in Ethiopia shows wisdom and political capability in governance,” he said.
Li said Ethiopia was an important partner of China in Africa. He said the practical cooperation between the two sides had played an exemplary role in both China-Africa and South-South cooperation.
“China firmly supports Ethiopia’s development path in accordance with the African country’s own national conditions and supports its efforts to develop its economy as well as maintain stability,” he said.
During his meeting with Li, Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome said China-Ethiopia ties were now in their best period in history.
“Ethiopia is ready to make joint efforts with China to develop a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation and better benefit the two countries and their citizens,” he said.
Li also shared views on China’s political system and path of development with the newly elected Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. They spoke about China’s governance experience and practices.
Li said that five years ago President Xi Jinping put forththe principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith — and the notion of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests when advancing cooperation with Africa.
Abiy said friendly relations between Ethiopia and China were as solid as a rock, adding that President Xi’s thoughts on governance provided important guidance and reference for the development of Ethiopia and other African countries.
He said implementation of the 10 major plans for China-Africa cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative had brought tangible benefits for Africa, and Ethiopia was willing to continue deepening cooperation with China in the fields of infrastructure construction, finance, tourism and human resources.
Muferiat Kamil, the speaker of Ethiopia’s House of People’s Representatives, said it was vital to further strengthen the relationship between the Ethiopian Parliament and the National People’s Congress of China, as well as reinforce people-to-people exchanges.
Kamil called on China to support and encourage Ethiopia’s commitment to bring political stability to the Horn of Africa and to restore peace and stability in South Sudan and Somalia.
Keria Ibrahim, speaker of the Ethiopian House of Federation, said the relationship between China and Ethiopia was very comprehensive and was strengthening periodically.
She said Ethiopia was ready to learn from China’s development experience, as well as work with China to step up trade cooperation and peopleto-people exchanges.
Li said the Chinese side would work with the Ethiopian Parliament to improve the legal environment to better facilitate ties. He said the NPC would open a seminar for legislators from developing countries in Africa this year, and he invited Ethiopian delegates to participate.
During his stay in Addis Ababa, Li, together with Abiy, witnessed the signing of cooperation documents between the two sides, and he inked a memorandum of understanding with the Ethiopian Parliament.
China and Ethiopia enjoy a high level of economic engagement. Trade volume between the two countries is currently at $6 billion, according to the Ethiopian Investment Commission, and between 2012 and 2017, 28,391 jobs were created in Ethiopia by 279 Chinese companies.
Out of these jobs, over 19,000 were created in the manufacturing sector, which is leading its African peers by attracting frims from China in terms of numbers and financial capital.
Li also made an official visit to Mozambique from May 12 to May 15 to promote friendship and cooperation between the two countries.