Ethiopia, China inks development accords worth billions of USD

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ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia and China inked five accords to advance their bilateral development cooperation. The Ethiopian high level delegation team led by Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed yesterday made fruitful deliberations with top Chinese government officials and signed five development cooperation accords in Beijing.

 The signed agreements include, financing agreement for development of a plaza and 12km of the ‘Beautifying Sheger’ river bank project, provision of grants for technical cooperation, provision of grants to go towards food aid, Belt and Road Initiative five year cooperation plan and an MOU operationalizing cooperation under the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation(FOCAC).

Prime Minister Abiy also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang. The President admired the reforms observed in Ethiopia, noting that China holds Ethiopia’s development in high regard, according to Office of the Prime Minister.

He also announced the cancellation of interest on all loans accumulatedtill end of 2018. Furthermore, President Xi emphasized that the Chinese government attaches high importance to the ‘beautifying Sheger’ project and is working on a grant assistance in its support.

PM Dr. Abiy for his part demonstrated the commitment of Ethiopia to deepening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with China, which is enabling critical moves such as restructuring the debt of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway.

The railway project is an early harvest of the Belt and Road Initiative that Ethiopia is part of. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang also confirmed that China will continue to support Ethiopia’s efforts in promoting the well being of its citizens and its economy.

 Prime Minister Abiy has also met with the China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure). The leadership guaranteed their full cooperation, particularly in enabling the materialization of the investment in energy by the State Grid Corporation of China.

Meanwhile, following a meeting with State Grid Corporation of China, Dr. Abiy oversaw the signing of a 1.8 billion USD investment agreement which covers provision of energy transmission and distribution lines.

The project will supply power for up to 16 industrial parks; the Addis Ababa to Djibouti 2nd railway line and for different cities in the country. This agreement will facilitate not only uninterrupted power supply but also enable the creation of jobs, according to the office of the Prime Minster.

The PM also met with the leadership of the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) in Beijing. CRCC have expressed interest in investing in agro-industry parks development, oil and gas development and the Beautifying Sheger river project.

In addition to a common understanding on global, regional cooperation and bilateral issues, PM Dr Abiy also expressed his concern on the detainment of the young female engineer Nazrawit Abera to President Xi.

The Ethiopian Herald April 25/2019

BY GIRMACHEW GASHAW