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China reiterates commitment to high-quality BRI cooperation with Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, March 21, 2024 (FBC) – Officials and scholars from Ethiopia and China on Wednesday praised the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for its significant role in promoting socioeconomic development in Ethiopia and beyond.

They made the remarks at a BRI-themed symposium held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, attended by about 50 senior Ethiopian and Chinese officials, former Ethiopian students who had studied in China, as well as academia and other stakeholders.

Gebeyehu Ganga, director-general of the Middle East, Asia and Pacific Affairs at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted the evolution of the BRI since its inception in 2013 into a global platform for open, inclusive, and mutually beneficial international cooperation.

“As we enter its second decade, the BRI continues to drive socioeconomic development in participating countries, including Ethiopia. Ethiopia, as a gateway to Africa, stands as a pioneer in China-Africa cooperation, serving as a vital connecting hub on the continent and a steadfast partner of China in promoting collaboration through common platforms,” he said.

Gebeyehu pointed out the tangible benefits of BRI infrastructure and connectivity projects in Ethiopia, particularly citing the Ethiopia-Djibouti standard gauge railway line, which has significantly improved Ethiopia’s import-export channels.

He said the BRI played an important role in catalyzing Ethiopia’s development aspirations by supporting the establishment of industrial parks and laying the groundwork for the growth of manufacturing industries in the East African country.

“In the realm of people-to-people exchanges, a cornerstone of the BRI, China has been instrumental in supporting Ethiopia’s educational and cultural development. Scholarships offered by the Chinese government underscore the depth of cooperation between our two nations,” Ganga added.

The symposium reflected on the achievements of the BRI over the past decade and discussed strategies for advancing a high-quality and more innovative BRI agenda in the future, aiming to foster practical and beneficial development towards a community of shared future between the two countries.

Xu Jianping, director-general of the Department of Regional Opening-up at the National Development and Reform Commission of China, emphasized the results of cooperation with China under the BRI in Ethiopia. He reiterated China’s commitment to implementing high-quality BRI cooperation as the initiative enters its second decade.

The symposium was held at the headquarters of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Ethiopia, a company that has undertaken various BRI projects in Ethiopia, including the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, Hawassa Industrial Park, and the headquarters of the Africa CDC.

Wu Jiuyi, a representative from CCECC, expressed gratitude for the support received from the Ethiopian government and expressed a desire to make even greater contributions to the country by building more infrastructure and employing more locals.

Experts and policymakers attending the symposium emphasized the paramount importance of the BRI in advancing Sino-Ethiopian cooperation and development. They called for further enhancing high-quality BRI cooperation between China and Ethiopia as part of the BRI’s second-decade implementation.

The participants highlighted that the symposium presented an opportune moment to capitalize on the enduring ties between China and Ethiopia, especially following the elevation of their bilateral relations to an all-weather strategic partnership in October last year. Xinhua

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