Business / Economy

Ethiopia keen to bolster cooperation with China in manufacturing sector: president

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-06-06 14:21

ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia is keen to further strengthen cooperation with China in the manufacturing sector, Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

As Ethiopia moves to industrialization, the East African nation is keen to have more Chinese investors in the manufacture sector, and to develop more industry zones and industrial parks, said the president.

Mulatu noted that the partnership forged between Ethiopia and China has an important role in Ethiopia's fast growing economic development.

Ethiopia has abundant natural resources but lacks an adequate industrial capability to tap the full potential, said the president.

Taking the wood-based industry for an example, Mulatu said that Ethiopia has very large bamboo resources, but when it comes to the usage and industrial input, it is near to zero.

The same is true in the industrial utilization of other timber resources, be it soft or hard timber, he said, adding that Ethiopia has a lot to exploit in the future.

In this regard, the economies of Ethiopia and China can complement each other, said the president.

While production cost is getting higher in China, it is really cheap in Ethiopia, he explained. It is a very appropriate place for these migratory industries to have foot in Ethiopia.

The president hailed China's contribution to Ethiopia's endeavor for rapid economic growth.

The development assistance and project financing from the Chinese government, including the financing of Ethiopia's mega projects, puts China in very important position in Ethiopia's development endeavors, said Mulatu.

"When we talk about Ethiopia's fast-track economic development, the contribution of China and the role of Chinese partnership is very important," he said.

Hailing the contribution of Chinese companies in infrastructure development in Ethiopia, such as in the roads, railways and telecom sectors, the president said his country looks forward to having more Chinese investors, especially in light manufacturing industries, where there are comparative advantages in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is nearly to complete its first five-year growth and transformation plan (GTP), and to launch its second GTP.

With the second GTP, the president said, "The whole effort of Ethiopia is to transform the economic structure. That is to say, we are moving to industrialization."

"With industrialization, foreign direct investment (FDI) is highly encouraged," he said. "We are planning to have different industrial parks and industry zones."

"We are looking forward to having more Chinese developers, not only single factory owners, but industry zones and industrial park developers. I myself have received several such developers," he said.

Stating that Ethiopia has a conducive policy for FDI, Mulatu acknowledged that there may be some problems here and there in the implementation of existing rules and regulations in the country.

"Whenever we hear from the investors that there is a problem, we look into that problem, and it has to be rectified," he said. "It has to be looked into, in order to make it so conducive to FDI; in order to make Ethiopia quickly develop and transform its economy towards industrialization."

The president also said that the presence of Chinese companies in Ethiopia definitely reflects the best relationship between the two countries.

"It is a reflection of the excellent relations between Ethiopia and China. So, we have to all celebrate this cooperation and do more to further strengthen this bilateral cooperation between our two countries," he said.

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