Ethiopia calls on China to work together on peace, security and good governance of the country in addition to the traditional investment.
Speaking at theEthiopia and China investment and trade forum, Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, said the government will revise policies and give support to solve challenges that investors face, “As two countries thathave a long and historic relationship, we have to look at the full spectrum and look into strengtheningour corporation with China on peace, security and good governance sectors as well.”
The forum was held on Thursday, May 12, 2022, and aimed primarily at further augmenting trade and economic ties. The forum was co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) and the Investment Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Commerce of China. Senior Ethiopian government officials, the business community from the two countries, as well as the Chinese diplomatic community in Addis Ababa were in attendance in addition tosenior Chinese government officials who took part in the high-level investment and trade forum virtually from China.
During the forum, six Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Investment Cooperation was signed between the two countries, which will serve as a new cooperation mechanism to promote investment cooperation and inject new impetus to the collaboration of the two countries.
Demeke, emphasized that Ethiopia has become one of the largest recipients of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa, in which Chinese engagement has injected a much-needed momentum to the country’s drive.
“Chinese investment in communication technologies, large-scale infrastructure, industrial parks and manufacturing sectors have certainly increased,” the Deputy Prime Minister said, adding, “China has proven to be our most-trusted economic and political partner, and its support continues to reinforce the impressive growth trajectory of Ethiopia.”
Vice Minister Qian Keming of Commerce of China, in addressing the forum via video link, said that since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries more than 50 years ago, the political mutual trust between the two countries has been continuously deepened, and the cooperation in various fields such as economy and trade has achieved practical and fruitful results.
In 2021, bilateral trade volume reached 2.66 billion dollars, of which, China imported commodities of nearly 370 million dollars from Ethiopia, a year-on-year increase of 8.1 percent.
LeliseNeme, EIC commissioner also stated that the newly signed agreements will lay a foundation for a strong economic relationship between the two countries.
In related news, in the past nine months of the budget year, Ethiopia has attracted 2.43 billion USD worth of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), according to the Ethiopian Investment Commission. However, the stated figure is only 67 percent of the targeted 3.63 billion dollars.
Investment Commissioner, Lelise Neme in her press briefing on Tuesday said the country has attracted the stated FDI from 118 investors. “Out of the total investments attracted, 65 engage in manufacturing, 50 in services, and 3 in agriculture,” she explained. New investors are mainly from China, France, the U.S., Israel, and Italy.
Challenges include security issues in some parts of the country and foreign currency shortage, suspension from AGOA, COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict were indicated to have affected the investment performance.
“The nine-month performance is encouraging amid internal and external challenges against the investments,” the commissioner explained, pointing out that the commission is working towards solving investment challenges in the country in many ways.