Workers go about their work at the Huajian Shoe factory about 40 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, Sept. 5, 2017. Huajian Industrial Holding Company Limited, a Chinese company that has a long-term investment plan in Ethiopia, is operating two plants in the country. (Photo: Xinhua)
The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday that the comprehensive Ethiopia-China partnership is a "win-win relation for both countries."
The ministry, in its analysis on the Ethiopia-China relations that was issued on Friday, stressed that "Ethiopia and China have created one of the strongest and most durable partnerships in Africa, building cooperation that is multifaceted and beneficial for both nations."
According to the report, diplomatic and economic ties among the two countries have strengthened over the years, with "strong political cooperation and understanding between the two nations that has been underlined by successive visits of high level officials."
The report also downplayed recent media reports that suggested a scaling back of Chinese investment in Ethiopia in the face of rising foreign exchange shortages and government debt.
"Ironically, this statement came in the same week as the Chinese pharmaceutical giant, Sansheng Pharmaceuticals Plc., inaugurated its plant in the Eastern Industrial Park. With a capital outlay of over 80 million U.S. dollars," the report read.
"This was a demonstration of the ever-increasing Chinese investment in strategic sectors in Ethiopia," it added.
Noting China as Ethiopia's biggest trade partner, the report indicated that trade relations between the two countries have shown significant progress over the last few years following the Chinese government's allocation of quota and tariff free rights to African countries.
"China has helped provide financing for a series of major projects in Ethiopia, helping to bridge the infrastructure gap in the country. These include the light railway project in Addis Ababa, the Ethio-Djibouti railway, industrial park projects and the inaugural Addis Ababa-Adama highway," the report said.
Referring to Ethiopia's Chinese-contracted and built infrastructure projects, the ministry stressed that "these projects have helped Ethiopia to be more competitive in terms of attracting investment into the region and into Africa as a whole, and they will help Ethiopia attain its vision of becoming a middle-income country and a light manufacturing hub in Africa by 2025."
The report further stressed the importance of Chinese investment in bringing the much-needed hard currency to Ethiopia.
Ethiopia, which registered 3.6 billion U.S. dollar foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2017, is now the second largest recipient of FDI in the African continent, according to a recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The East African region, as the fastest-growing region in Africa, has received 7.6 billion U.S. dollar in FDI in the reported period, of which almost half of the region's FDI went to Ethiopia.
According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, large amount of this investment was sourced from China.
"One such investment is the Eastern Industrial Park, the first privately owned industry park in Ethiopia. This hosts Chinese companies involved in sectors ranging from leather to car manufacturing," the report noted.
Chinese telecom giants such as Tecno Mobile - which manufactures its products in Ethiopia as a base for its expansion in Africa - as well as Huawei and ZTE are also said to be the major FDI sources for Ethiopia.
The Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, Tan Jian, has also recently told Xinhua that recent media reports downplaying China's engagement in Ethiopia were contradicted by the reality on the ground.
Noting the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries, Tan said that FDI from China to Ethiopia has doubled in 2017 as compared to the figure in 2015.
He called recent media reports that indicated China's investment in Ethiopia is scaling back or Chinese investment has reached its limits "fake news."
The ministry further noted that Ethiopia's flag carrier - the Ethiopian Airlines - with its regular flights to Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai - has contributed substantially to strengthen ties among the two countries and to relations between China and Africa in general.