Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome has hailed Chinese investment as one that plays an indispensable role in the East African country’s industrialization drive.
Speaking after visiting the Chinese built Eastern Industry Zone he said the complex, which has more than 80 factories in it, is a showcase in how with right management and planning Ethiopia’s transition from an agriculture-based economy into an industrial powerhouse in the next 10 years can be successful.
The Eastern Industry Zone, inaugurated in 2010, is Ethiopia’s first industry zone that inspired the Ethiopian government towards establishing more industry parks across the country towards becoming the manufacturing hub of the African continent.
“A decade ago the land the Eastern Industry Zone currently lies on was just an agricultural land, but with hard work it has become today a showcase of high quality industrial factories in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, pulp and textile,” said Teshome.
“I hope our local entrepreneurs will learn from the success of Eastern Industry Zone and take this opportunity to enter into the manufacturing sector,” he further said.
Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Tan Jian, who accompanied the Ethiopian president in his visit to the Eastern Industry Zone, said the bilateral relationship can be a model of South-South cooperation.
Ethiopia has the biggest economy in the East African region and the second largest population in Africa with around 100 million people, he said.
In that regard, China’s cooperation with Ethiopia can be seen as a model for China-Africa and South-South cooperation, Tan told Xinhua.
Chinese investment and expertise have been crucial to build a 4 billion U.S. dollars 756 km electrified rail line from Addis Ababa to Djibouti, helping ease the bottleneck for landlocked Ethiopia and assisting the East African country maintain its double-digit economic growth over the last decade, said Tan.
Ethiopia-China partnership can be strengthened, be it infrastructure development sector, industrial park development, agricultural sector development and human resource development, said Tan.
“As part of our multi-faceted cooperation every year we provide 400 scholarships to Ethiopians, as we see human resource development is very important for our bilateral partnership,” said Tan.