Belt and Road Forum

Ethiopia’s role in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative will be a key discussion point during its participation in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit to be held in Beijing in September, an Ethiopian official said Friday.

Proposed in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to build a trade and infrastructure network to connect Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient trade routes.

Speaking to Xinhua, Meles Alem, spokesperson of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), said Ethiopia is already a key partner in the initiative, as exemplified by the Ethiopia-Djibouti electrified railway constructed through Chinese expertise and money.

Alem said Ethiopia plans to discuss further strengthening its role in the Belt and Road Initiative during the upcoming FOCAC summit.

“Ethiopia was the first African country to host a FOCAC summit back in December 2003. Now with an invigorated leadership under new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia plans to also discuss strengthening bilateral ties with China,” said Alem.

Speaking to Xinhua recently, Gedion Jalata, CEO at Center for Excellence International Consult, an Ethiopian consulting firm, said he expects Ethiopia and China to renew commitment in the fields of infrastructure and industrial parks during the FOCAC summit.

“Ethiopia is tapping Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in its industrial parks, as it seeks to copy Chinese success in attracting FDI through industrial parks,” said Jalata.

Gedion mentioned Chinese success in lifting 700 million nationals from poverty in 30 years and said Ethiopian delegates at upcoming FOCAC summit will likely discuss Chinese engagement in Ethiopia’s own poverty reduction plan. Enditem

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