Ethiopia, China sign infrastructure, economic deals

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Addis Ababa, 5 May 2014 (WIC) – Ethiopia and China signed multiple agreements in infrastructure and economic cooperation during the Chinese premier’s first Africa tour.

The deals include a Comprehensive Framework Agreement for the years 2015-2024 and a loan release for the Addis Ababa – Djibouti Railway project, whose construction is over 37 percent complete. China agreed to extend 1.4 billion dollars in loan for the railway project in December 2012

China also agreed to provide financial assistance to a new Dire Dawa – Dewalle (Djibouti) highway as well as for Welkait Sugar Development Project in Tigray region.

In the manufacturing sector, four Chinese companies including China Communications Corporation Company (CCCC), China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), CGC Overseas Construction (CGCOC) and China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC), have agreed to set up industrial parks in Ethiopia.

At a press conference held after the signing of the deals, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn described the Sino-Ethiopia relations as “a long term strategic partnership based on mutual benefit.”

Thanking the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for choosing Ethiopia as his first destination in his four-nation Africa tour, Hailemariam said the comprehensive cooperation between Ethiopia and China has promoted Ethiopia's economic growth and transformation.

Hailemariam said the China’s high level visit to Ethiopia will take the relationship of the two countries to a higher level.

“China is the largest developing country and Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The two countries share a "common destiny" and should work together to achieve common development,” Hailemariam said.

The Chinese premier, on his part, said Ethiopia, as seat of the African Union, is a major player in the continent adding that his country’s relation with Ethiopia has shown a tremendous growth over the years with bright prospect for the future.

The deals signed between the two countries were not limited to infrastructure developments and economic cooperation however; it also included extradition and diplomatic visa exemption agreements which was signed by the foreign ministers of both countries.

The Chinese PM is expected to inaugurate the Addis-Adama Expressway, the first of its kind toll road in the nation, later today. The 84.6 kilometers long and 31 meters wide expressway is built by CCCC with financial assistance from the EXIM bank of China.