Abiy Ahmed will meet Xi and Li in Beijing as he builds on China’s success in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing next month, Fitsum Arega, chief of staff at the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office has stated.

Ahmed is expected to hold discussions with China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang at the forum which holds from September 3 to 4.

China-Ethiopia relations have been smooth for decades. The East African country is often described as the undisputed success story for Chinese investment in African manufacturing.

“The Forum will elevate the relations. China is Ethiopia’s largest trading partner and source of the largest FDI,” Arega wrote on Twitter.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Ethiopia declined by 10 percent to $3.6 billion in 2017. According to United States headquartered Santander Bank, State’s high interference in the economy, poor condition of infrastructure, difficulties related to land acquisition, strict foreign exchange controls, very high transaction costs and weakness of institutions are constraints to foreign investment. Although Ahmed has been putting reforms in place to open up Ethiopia, China remains a major partner of the country. The Asian giant has significantly increased its investment in Ethiopian over the past decade, mostly in the construction, textile, power generation and telecommunications sectors.

As Ethiopia opens up, investment opportunities will increase and China seem certain to have a right of first refusal.

Meanwhile, Admasu Nebebe, deputy minister of the Ethiopia Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) has said that African countries need to transform their agricultural sector, engage in vigorous industrial development, invest in their infrastructure and put resources to develop their science and technology if they are to successfully develop their economies like China.

Nebebe, who spoke to Chinese news agency Xinhua said that China-Ethiopia relationship combines elements of hard infrastructure and knowledge-based partnership.

The 2018 FOCAC is themed China and Africa: toward an even stronger community with a shared future through win-win cooperation.