Africa-Press – Ethiopia. By Bereket Sisay
Since the beginning of Ethiopia and China’s relationship some 50 years ago, the relationship between these two countries has been evolving over time. Bilateral cooperation and mutual partnerships have been expanding at an alarming rate while bracing as many areas of mutual benefits as possible. This bilateral partnership has withstood the test of time without deterioration and has grown stronger over time in accordance with the mutually agreed-upon trust. The relationship built so far has brought many positive gains for both countries, and in particular, Ethiopia has been able to reap the benefits of collaborating with China. In particular, the Belt and Road Initiative (RBI) has provided Ethiopia with the opportunity to fill some of the most important components of its infrastructure gaps and is fundamentally transforming its economy.
Nevertheless, Ethiopia has a myriad of infrastructural and economic development gaps that need to be filled to sustain its developmental gains. This ambition, apart from the ongoing national endeavors, summons further international cooperation and assistance. Hence, Ethiopia’s partnership with China has become a very crucial component in bringing these results. China places a high value on its relations with African countries, particularly with Ethiopia. And, therefore, as both countries are developing states and share a common agenda of economic and social development, they are expected to cement their relationship and work in collaboration toward a common good.
This collaboration must be expanded in accordance with the already designated areas of engagement under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). According to this solemn agreement, there are many areas of mutual cooperation that need to be cultivated in an effort to bring about reciprocal benefits. Therefore, the Ethiopia-China partnership must go accordingly and bring the expected results. However, more specifically, China needs to boost its support for Ethiopia to realize its short and long-term economic and social transformation plans.
Ethiopia’s economy, despite all the challenges, can be listed among those nations that endure shocks and hold a promising future. Yet, the country’s economy needs to continue on a course of positive growth to catch up with its growing population. This can only be achieved as the country is able to focus on those macro-economic issues that are capable of driving the country forward. In particular, building as many mega projects as possible, such as roads, rail ways, airports, power plants, dams, and various social service centers, would positively impact the economy and people’s lives altogether. These mega infrastructural projects will have a huge repercussion when it comes to bringing sustainable development to Ethiopia.
For many reasons, a significant number of Ethiopian populations are now bereft of these essential components. This infrastructural gap becomes a bottleneck for many people living under the yoke of poverty and simultaneously creates a hurdle as the country strives to make economic progress. Without having a basic infrastructure, it’s difficult to bring about any positive transformation. In fact, it nullifies all the efforts that go toward prosperity. Therefore, it’s a must to invest in these vital infrastructural projects to bring about the overall economic and social transformation.
It shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the bottom line is infrastructure for all super structural changes at the national level. In line with this, China’s support for Ethiopian infrastructural development initiatives would be critical as it would have a long-lasting impact on the country’s development endeavors. China should expand its financial and technical assistance to Ethiopia, particularly at this time of difficulty as the country is struggling to come out of a serious internal and external economic tremor.
Hence, Chinese assistance, especially in the area of development assistance, must be scaled up at this crucial juncture. The assistance would invariably help the nation to use it as a springboard to jump into the next phases of development. Furthermore, it would make the country’s progress over the years more consistent and allow the country to answer the big infrastructure question along the way.
Aside from the financial and technical assistance, Chinese engagement in Ethiopia should be oriented toward capacity building to make the country self-sustaining in its development approach. In particular, experience sharing and exchange need to accelerate, particularly in science and technology. In particular, those proven solutions for different global economic and social challenges should be at the center of the exchange with the objective of surfacing shared growth. This sort of collaboration between these two countries is necessary as Ethiopia seeks its youth population to pioneer innovative solutions. China, by continuing its development assistance to Ethiopia, should once again reaffirm its commitment to its friendly country’s continuous social and economic development.