Mitiku Kassa (L), commissioner of National Disaster and Risk Management Commission received emergency food aid from Tan Jian, Ambassador of China to Ethiopia during a handover ceremony in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, August 2, 2019. The Chinese government donated 9,000 metric tons of emergency food assistance to Ethiopia. (Photo: Xinhua)
Noting the remarkable achievements in China-Ethiopia relations in the year 2019, including the cooperation on the successful launch of Ethiopia's first ever remote sensing satellite, dubbed ETRSS-1 earlier this month, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Tan Jian said the upcoming year 2020 would be historic, whereby the two countries will elevate ties to a higher level.
Tan Jian was speaking to a press conference on Friday in Addis Ababa, capital of the East African country, where he mentioned achievements in different arenas, including in 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," he said.
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 that have featured the signing of various bilateral cooperation agreements, according to the ambassador.
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, he said.
Tan Jian recalled 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 master-degree and doctoral-degree programs.
He also stated that China and Ethiopia have been enjoying cooperation in the areas of health, and China has been deploying medical doctors in Ethiopia since 1970s.
With regard to the bilateral cooperation in the area of hi-tech, Tan Jian recalled that China's Alibaba Group, the global e-commerce giant, has decided to establish Alibaba Electronic World Trade Platform, a digital trade hub in Ethiopia which would help the country develop its digital economy.
Recalling the recent successful launch of Ethiopia's first-ever satellite into space, the ambassador said that the upcoming 2020 would mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, and also the 20th anniversary of the inception of the FOCAC.
"In such a promising year, the 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, and we are planning to establish a Luban Workshop to train technicians," said Tan.
"For both China and Ethiopia, 2020 would be a historic year," he said.