China-Ethiopia relations to soar in 2020

While reiterating achievements in China-Ethiopia relations, including cooperation on the successful launch of Ethiopia’s first ever remote sensing satellite, the Chinese ambassador to Ethiopia, Tan Jian says the upcoming year will be historic, as both countries look to elevate ties.

Jian was speaking to a press conference in Addis Ababa on Friday, where he mentioned achievements on different fronts, including the political, economic, capacity building, health, education and hi-tech areas.

“Driven by the momentum gathered from the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Belt and road Initiative, notable achievements were achieved in China-Ethiopia relations in 2019,” Jian says.

The year to be wrapped up within a few days has seen frequent exchanges of high-level visits, including Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s visit to China. This featured the signing of various bilateral cooperation agreements, heralding steady development of bilateral relations oriented under new circumstances.

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On the economic front, bilateral pragmatic cooperation has achieved remarkable progress, in the areas including among others, the Addis Ababa Riverside Green Development Project, Ethiopia-Djibouti railway project, oil and gas project and airport expansion project, Jian add, recalling that investments are underway by the Chinese in different sectors, including textile, pharmaceuticals, building material, steel, ceramics, and bamboo paper pulp.

According to the statistics by Ethiopian Investment Commission, from January to October in 2019, Ethiopia approved 147 FDI projects from China, with a year-on-year increase of more than 12 percent, accounting for 60 percent of the newly-approved FDI projects in Ethiopia this year.

“China has consolidated its positions as Ethiopia’s largest source of investment and trading partner,” he said.

In the area of capacity building and education, the ambassador has also recalled that a total of 1,590 Ethiopians travelled to China for training, among which 234 people were awarded the scholarships for their masters degree and doctoral-degree programs.

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He also states that China and Ethiopia have enjoyed cooperation in the areas of health, with which the China has deployed medical doctors to Ethiopia since the 1970s.

With regard to the bilateral cooperation in the area of hi-tech, Tan Jian recalls that China’s Alibaba Group, the global e-commerce giant, has decided to establish the Alibaba electronic World Trade Platform, digital trade hub in Ethiopia, which will help the country develop its digital economy.

According to the ambassador, the upcoming year will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries as well as the 20th anniversary of FOCAC’s inception.

“In such a promising year, China-aided Ethiopian Addis Ababa Riverside Green Development Project (Beautifying Sheger Project) is projected to be completed in May, feasibility study would be started for the project of China-Africa Bamboo Center in Ethiopia, we are planning to establish a Luban Workshop to train technicians,” said Tan.

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“For both China and Ethiopia, 2020 will be a historic year,” Jian says.

On the potential and prospect of the cooperation between both countries, Jian says he is now saying “space is the limit,” after the successful launch of the satellite, ETRSS-1.

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