Ethiopia eyes strengthened ties with China – Xinhua

by Zelalem

ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) — As the Ethiopia – China Economic, Trade and Cultural Cooperation Forum is currently underway in Hangzhou, China, the Ethiopian government envisaged the forum to provide a new impetus to the comprehensive partnership among the two countries.

The forum kicked off on Wednesday in Hangzhou city in east China.

According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the forum is one major result of the long-standing relations that the two countries have enjoyed for many years.

“Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have steadily strengthened a relationship based on their common interests. The two countries have also been and are working closely together in regional and international matters,” the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.

Aklilu Hailemichael, Ethiopian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, who noted the long-standing and strong brotherly relations between the two countries and their common aspirations on various areas of cooperation, praised the government and people of China for playing a prominent role in his country’s economic boom.

“The Ethiopia – China Economic, Trade and Cultural Cooperation Forum will further enhance the multifaceted ties between the two countries,” the statement quoted Hailemichael as saying.

Hailemichael further stressed on the need to promote the South-South cooperation modality and maintain the “excellent collaboration” within the framework of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, the G-77 and the Non-Aligned Movement among others.

Hailemichael has also briefed participants of the forum regarding Ethiopia’s untapped human and natural resources together with the Ethiopian government’s commitment towards promoting investment schemes in the east African country.

According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vice Mayor of Hangzhou, Chen Xinhua, also stressed on the need to further map out fields of cooperation in different arrays.

China, Ethiopia’s largest trading partner, is a major player in Ethiopia’s investment, trade and diplomatic landscape.

In just the past 2 decades alone, Chinese companies have invested close to 4 billion U.S. dollars in Ethiopia. According to the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), the bilateral trade volume among the two countries has also reached 6.37 billion U.S. dollars in 2015.

The recently published McKinsey report also indicated that Ethiopia, together with South Africa, have developed a “robust partnership” with China, along with a high degree of economic engagement in the form of investment, trade, loans, and aid.

The Ethiopian government also stressed the importance of Chinese engagement to the east African country.

Workneh Gebeyehu, Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister, said earlier this month that the ties between Ethiopia and China have shown consistent upward trajectory over the past years.

Gebeyehu, who noted Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s visit to China during the Belt and Road Initiative Summit in May 2017, also said that the relationship between the two countries “has grown to an excellent level, where the two countries enjoy a comprehensive cooperation and partnership.”

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