Belt & Road Initiative helps unleash Africa's development potential: officials

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-25 23:54:56|Editor: Yamei
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ADDIS ABABA, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The Belt and Road Initiative will provide African countries new opportunities to unleash their potential for development, noted Berhane Gebre-Chirstos, Special Envoy of Ethiopian Prime Minister.

The special envoy made the remarks Tuesday at the opening of a seminar organized on the Belt and Road Initiative in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.

Welcoming the initiative, Berhane Gebre-Chirstos said the objectives of the Belt and Road Initiative are complementary to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation which has so far provided tangible benefits to Africa.

He called on African governments to take the advantage of the proposed Belt and Road Initiative by extending support for its realization in Africa and beyond.

"I have no doubt that the Belt and Road Initiative could, of course, be an engine of world economic growth in the 21st century since transport infrastructure is necessary condition for economic development and growth," he said.

"It is widely believed that the Belt and Road Initiative is a golden opportunity to bring about economic cooperation, regional integration, sustainable and speedy economic growth for Africa. It also will open the way for African countries that are already witnessing robust economic growth and have huge untapped potential in trade and investment to integrate with the global economy," he added.

Speaking on the occasion, La Yifan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, said that the seminar was organized as part of preparation for an upcoming Belt and Road Initiative forum scheduled for mid-May in Beijing, China.

The Ambassador noted that the forum in Beijing would review the achievements made since the announcement of the initiative and would deliberate on the way forward.

"This initiative covers areas stretching from Asia to Europe and all the way to Africa, and is mainly composed of five areas, mainly policy coherence coordination, infrastructure connectivity, trade promotion, investment promotion, and people-to-people exchanges," he said.

"It is highly timely for them (Africans) to participate in this initiative because among all these five areas, we could find specific achievements and progress made... For that reason, we believe, it is necessary to organize the seminar to gather the idea and wisdom from the African perspective," said the Ambassador.

"It is an initiative that is going to bring people together in order to build a road of cooperation rather than build a war. It is also part of Chinese efforts to spread prosperity, infrastructure to revitalize this ancient Silk Road," he said.

Ethiopian State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hirut Zemene, hailed the Ethio-China overall partnership, and cooperation in infrastructure development in particular, such as the Addis Ababa light rail and the Ethio-Djibouti rail projects.

Reiterating that Ethiopia is one of African countries to attend the coming Belt and Road Initiative Forum for International Cooperation, she expressed Ethiopia's commitment to the success of the forum.

George Morara Orina, Minister Counsellor of Kenyan Embassy in Ethiopia, also made remarks focusing on the partnership and cooperation between Kenya and China in infrastructure development.

Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to promote international economic cooperation, trade, investment, and people-to-people relations.

The seminar under the theme, "Belt and Road Initiative: African Perspective," has been co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institute to help deepen understanding of the Belt and Road Imitative and the benefits it brings to Ethiopia and Africa in general.