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Ethiopia, Africa highly benefiting from Chinese engagement

(By Xinhua)

Updated: 2017-07-27 07:38:13

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Chinese engagement has injected positive momentum to the development of Ethiopia in particular and Africa in general, Ethiopian expert Costantinos Bt. Costantinos told Xinhua on July 21.

Referring to Chinese-funded and built infrastructure development projects in Ethiopia and the rest of the African continent, Costantinos (PhD), who serves as an economic advisor to African Union (AU) and UN-Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA), said the support is "both timely and important."

"Infrastructure is the mainstay of any economy; unless you have roads, railways, airports, and energy productions, the economy will suffer," he said, adding that "Chinese investments and loans from China have many advantages, first they come on time and second they are completed in time."

With regards to the Ethio-Djibouti railway, Africa's first modern railway that was built by Chinese companies connecting Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa to Djibouti port, Costantinos affirmed that it would highly benefit land-locked Ethiopia.

"We have expected a lot from this railway and it will help Ethiopia's growing economy that demands a growing import from abroad and export to the rest of the world," he said, adding that "the investment will not only help the transport of goods but also transport of people among Ethiopians and with the people of Djibouti."

He also said that the railway, by transforming the current truck-dependent platform with modern railway scheme, would help to ease the congestion at the Djibouti port, a Red Sea port that Ethiopia highly depends on for its import and export needs.

Costantinos further noted that the growing Chinese engagement also helped Africa's second most populous nation with access to job opportunities to its burgeoning younger generation.

In neighboring country Kenya, Chinese company also helped build a 480km standard gauge railway, connecting capital Nairobi with port city Mombasa. The railway project, which started operation in June this year, greatly cuts the time needed to transport goods and people, and has created nearly 40,000 jobs for the locals.

According to data from the Ethiopian Investment Commission, 279 Chinese companies that were set operational in Ethiopia during the past five-year period (from January 2012 to January 2017) have created more than 28,300 jobs in Ethiopia's various sectors, in which the country's manufacturing sector is said to be the major beneficiary.

The expert, who is also professor of public policy at the Addis Ababa University, affirmed that an increased people-to-people relation also needs to get due emphasis so as to strengthen the existing inclusive China-Africa relations.