Ethiopia and China enjoyed “rapid development in every perspective” with strong mutual political trust, cooperation on the China-proposed Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), as well as cooperation in international affairs, the outgoing Chinese ambassador to Ethiopia Tan Jian, said.

“Ethiopia is an indispensable partner of China in jointly advancing the BRI on the African continent. Ethiopia is among the first African countries that signed cooperation documents in this regard,” Tan told a press conference on Wednesday.

“Ethiopia firmly adheres to and actively supports the BRI. The significance of ties between the two countries goes beyond bilateral connotations since it has become a model for China-Africa and South-South cooperation,” said Tan.

Tan, who noted that China continues to be the biggest trading partner and the single largest foreign direct investment source for Ethiopia, stressed that the economic cooperation between the two countries will be promoted to a new high driven by the momentum gathered from the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and BRI.

Reiterating China’s “firm support” to Ethiopia’s developmental path in line with its own national conditions, Tan stressed that China supports the East African country’s efforts to safeguard sovereignty, develop its economy and improve people’s livelihood.

“This position is steadfast and will not change,” he said.

The Chinese envoy also echoed the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali’s previous remarks as he emphasized that “only the sky is the limit” to the ever-growing Ethiopia-China Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership.

As he finalized his service in Ethiopia, Tan also stressed that “during my tenure, we are glad to see the rapid development of our friendship in every perspective. Jointly, we made remarkable achievements.”

According to Tan, regarding the Sino-Ethiopia bilateral ties, three areas that are mutual political trust, cooperation on BRI, and cooperation in international affairs “are mostly highlighted.”

“The political mutual trust is the key foundation of our diplomatic ties”

Tan affirmed, adding that the two countries have maintained frequent high-level exchanges, between governments, ruling parties, think tanks, social and cultural groups as well as the two peoples.

Tan also stressed that Chinese companies have continued to vigorously participate in Ethiopia’s infrastructure projects, creating tens of thousands of jobs for local people and solidly promoting the country’s economic and social development.

Regarding Ethiopia’s China-aided Addis Ababa Riverside Green Development Project, dubbed Beautifying Sheger Project, Tan stressed that the first phase has been completed.

“It’s a comprehensive modern project with tourism, relaxation functionalities. It is designed to meet the needs of the people, reflecting Ethiopian’s civilization, cultural diversity and unity. I do believe it will be a new hallmark of Ethiopia and will promote the service economy, creating jobs and generating revenues,” Tan told journalists.

According to Tan, Chinese businesspeople are investing heavily in Ethiopia, across sectors including textile, pharmaceutical, building materials, steel, ceramics, bamboo paper pulp, among others.

According to the recent figures from the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), until the end June 2020, Ethiopia approved over 1,500 FDI projects from China, the FDI by stock amounts to around 2.7 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 25 percent of the total FDI projects in Ethiopia this year.

Noting that industrialization, investment and infrastructure are crucial for Ethiopia’s development, the ambassador also stressed that “it is truly heartening to witness that all these areas are now more accessible and available in Ethiopia.”

“The efforts to make necessary reforms are serving the purpose of creating a better business environment to promote the economy,” Tan said.