PM to attend second Belt and Road forum

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Several sideline and bilateral events regarding Ethiopia are expected during the upcoming second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will attend, along with 40 other world leaders.
The Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, Tan Jian said that upon the invitation President Xi Jinping, PM Abiy will attend the forum that is expected to take place for three days starting from April 25 in Beijing.
Ambassador Tan said that Ethiopia is a strong partner of China regarding all aspects not only on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that President Xi put forth in 2013.
The theme of this year’s BRF is: Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future. The Forum events include the opening ceremony, leaders’ round-table, high-level meeting, thematic forums, CEO conference and other side events.
The upcoming visit to China would be the second for PM Abiy within 8 months. He went to China last September.
According to the ambassador some few African leaders are also invited for the forum besides several government officials of different countries in the continent.
Tan ridiculed some political experts speculation that the relation of the two countries is not warm as before Abiy’s period. “Our relation is very strong as usual, you can see that this is the second time within few months for the visit of Pm Abiy to China,” he told Capital.
“Representatives from over 100 countries, including about 40 leaders of foreign governments, including PM Abiy Ahmed, have confirmed their attendance. As the host country, we will, together with other Forum parties, take stock of what has been achieved and draw a blueprint for future cooperation to further enrich BRI cooperation,” he said at a press conference held on Thursday April 18 at the compound of the Chinese Embassy.
Tan said that BRI cooperation is not a talk shop, but an action-oriented initiative that delivers tangible outcomes. The second BRF is expected to produce a full range of deliverables, including governmental cooperation agreements and initiatives, as well as concrete cooperation projects involving participation of the business sectors. “We hope and believe that the participating parties attending the Forum will build on successful practices and jointly develop a multi-tiered cooperation framework with more real results of still higher quality,” he added.
He said that BRI is an important initiative for international cooperation to enhance China’s cooperation with global partners. The BRI represents a major breakthrough in both theory and practice, and it carries far-reaching significance.
So far, a total of 124 countries and 29 international organizations including Ethiopia have signed BRI cooperation documents with China. “Ethiopia is among the first batch of African countries who signed cooperation documents concerning jointly building the Belt and Road, and China supports Ethiopia in playing a bigger role as a bridge and a link for jointly advancing the BRI in Africa,” he added.
“Protectionism and unilateralism are rising, so are uncertainties and destabilizing factors. As stressed by President Xi, the BRI is a significant move China has taken to fully open itself under the new conditions, and it embodies China’s commitment to sharing development opportunities and outcomes with more countries in the world,” the ambassador added on his press conference.
The latest studies by the World Bank and other international institutions suggest that the BRI cooperation will cut the costs of global trade by 1.1 to 2.2 percent. It will contribute at least 0.1 percent of global growth in 2019.
During the first BRF held in 2017 Hailemariam Desalegn, the then Prime Minister of Ethiopia, attended the Summit.