Amen Teferi 05-18-17
When addressing a banquet held on Sunday in honor of foreign guests attending the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for renewing the Road spirit.
President Xi Jinping is the helmsman of the world’s second-largest economy and chief of the largest political party as well as an ardent champion of globalization and enthusiastic football fan. Now, he appears to be reaffirming another international title as the architect of a grand plan to better connect countries along and beyond the ancient Silk Road. The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing on Sunday and Monday is a perfect illustration of China’s rising international status and also Xi’s growing influence.
On a banquet held on Sunday, President Xi Jinping said “More than 2,000 years ago, our ancestors, driven by the desire for friendship, opened the overland and maritime Silk Roads and thus started a great era of exchanges among civilizations. Today, we gather here to renew the Silk Road spirit and discuss the Belt and Road development of international cooperation. This is both a continuation of our shared legacy and a right choice for the future. We are at a fresh starting point, ready to embark on a new journey together. So long as we press ahead with a common vision without backpedaling or standing still, we will achieve greater connectivity and benefit from each other’s development.”
This was the spirit that China wanted to instill in the mind of its guests on the occasion of the two-day International Forum it has organized in Beijing. According to President Xi Jinping the Belt and Road initiative embodies the aspiration for inter-civilization exchanges, the yearning for peace and stability, the pursuit of common development and the shared dream for better life. Xi proposed the Belt and Road initiative in 2013. It is a grand plan to connect Asia with Europe and Africa along, and beyond the ancient trade routes by putting in place an unparalleled trade and infrastructure network. According to Xi the world is facing myriad challenges: sluggish trade and investment, wobbling economic globalization, increasingly unbalanced development, and impact from large-scale migration of refugees and immigrants, as well as wars, conflicts and terrorism. Countries are exploring their own ways to deal with these challenges and have put forward many good development strategies and initiatives, but it is difficult to rely on a single country to manage or solve the global problems, Xi said, citing the inter-dependence between nations. Only by aligning their policies and integrating economic factors and resources in a global scale can countries create synergy to promote world peace, stability and shared development, he noted.
Under these circumstances, the world may well draw wisdom and strength from the ancient Silk Road, which features the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. The initiative also enables countries to create new development opportunities and impetus, and leverage their comparative advantages for win-win results, to make progress toward building a community of shared future for mankind, he said. As some experts had suggested the Belt and Road initiative will provide opportunities for the whole world to promote peace and prosperity. The initiative will surly bolster cooperation and stability and help Asia to become the world’s new economic center of gravity experts said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping meets the press after the “Leaders’ Roundtable Summit at the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation at Yanqi Lake International Convention Center in Beijing, capital of China, May 15, 2017. A two-day forum of the world leaders ended Monday, with promise and high hopes that the Belt and Road Initiative will be the beginning of the building of a better world.
The 130 plus countries represented, including the host China, have more than two-third of the global population. Their combined gross domestic product account for 90 percent of the world’s total. The leaders Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held Monday in Beijing and a joint communiqué was issued after the summit. It was in 2013 that the Chinese President Xi Jinping had launched the important cooperation initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Centaury Maritime Silk Road. To date, steady progress and fruitful results have been achieved in the implementation of the initiative. The international community has welcomed the initiative and its positive impact. China hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing on 14-15 may, 2017. Before and during the BRF, national governments, local authorities and enterprises reached a number of cooperation agreements, policy measures and practical results. The Chinese side has put together a list of major deliverables of the BRF, which includes 76 items comprising more than 270 concrete results in five key areas, namely policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity.
Argentina, Belarus, Chile, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Philippines, the Russian Federation, the Swiss Confederation, Turkey, Uzbekistan, the Republic of Viet Nam, Cambodia, Ethiopia, the Republic of Fiji, Prime the Hellenic Republic, Hungary, Italy, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Poland, Serbia, Spain, and Sri Lanka, attended the Leaders Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on 15 May 2017 in Beijing. China had also welcomed the participation of Secretary General Antonio Guterres of the United Nations, President Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank Group, and Managing Director Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund.
This meeting is held in Beijing as the world economy is experiencing modest recovery while downside risks remain high All countries, especially developing ones, still face common challenges of eradicating poverty, promoting inclusive and sustained economic growth, and achieving sustainable development.
This is an era of opportunity, where countries continue to aspire for peace, development and cooperation. Indeed, China is more important to Africa than ever as infrastructure is pressing issue to many African countries. Ethiopia and China share a significant bilateral relationship — one that has assumed robustness over the last two decades.
Last week it has assumed a new shape since the establishment of the diplomatic relations of the two countries in 1970. Their relationship is based upon adherence to mutual respect, non interference in the internal affairs of each other’s countries, and peaceful coexistence. China has proven itself to be a real and dependable friend for many areas. Their ties range from politics to strategic, to economic, culture, education, training, and entrepreneurship development.
It has played a significant role in helping the fight against poverty. Now, the economic relations between the two countries bear witness to the level and strength of cooperation between them. And the factors that contribute largely to the consolidation of the bonds between Ethiopia and China are the frequent exchange of visit by high level official and legislators, the successful signing of agreements on a number of significant bilateral issues.
Trade relations have shown significant progress over the last few years following Chinese government allocation of quota and tariff free rights to African countries. Exports mainly agricultural produce; have shown significant improvements as a result, though the balance of trade remains in favor of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC).
China is among the top trading partners of Ethiopia. China has the largest investment and development contracts in Ethiopia. Chinese investment in Ethiopia is showing significant expansion in both quality and quantity. Chinese companies have invested in areas as diverse as cement and glass factories, manufacturing mainly in textile and pharmaceuticals, and in areas of mining. They have generated substantial job opportunities and Ethiopia has also benefited from the transfer of technology. The Chinese government has played a remarkable role in encouraging Chinese investors to come to Ethiopia.
China has formulated an impressive development program to Ethiopia on the basis of mutual respect and understanding and n the principle of non-interference. It has provided soft and interest free loans as well as grants for project development. It has been involved in the infrastructure including roads, hydroelectric power, telecommunications, water development, water development, and manufacturing as well as other areas. China’ assistance can above all describe as practical assistance to help Ethiopia escape from the poverty trap, and as particularly timely in assisting Ethiopia to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Economic development in Ethiopia relies heavily on the development of closer economic links between Ethiopia and China, as well as with other countries. But the relationship with China has provided countries like Ethiopia with economic development that they can really own themselves. China’s policies are based on the principles of promoting mutual advantage and a serious commitment to a win-win scenario in bilateral relations. This indeed explains why relations between China and African countries including Ethiopia, have become so close and successful, as exemplified in AOCAC.
And this relation will continue to expand and be effective. Ethiopian and China has inked a Memorandum of Understanding, which would expand this relationship of the countries to a higher level with a view to push to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
For instance, China has signed the Joint Initiative on Strengthening Standard Cooperation and Building the Belt and Road with Ethiopia and other countries. The Export-Import Bank of China has also signed loan agreements on industrial park projects, projects of power transmission and distribution, wind power projects, water projects, dam projects, satellite project, hydraulic factory projects with the relevant government departments of Ethiopia.
With a view to reinvigorate its economic engagement with Ethiopia and other African countries, the Chinese government has broadened the earlier Comprehensive Partnership to another level by elevating to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership that gave Ethiopia a special place.