ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian policymakers and business people on Friday hailed the country's investment and trade ties with China as an ideal model of win-win and strategic partnership.
Ethiopian government's high-level officials and business community members were participating in a trade and investment symposium held in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa on Friday, with an aim to promote trade and investment ties between the two countries.
Melaku Ezezew, president of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association, considered the Sino-Ethiopian trade and investment relations "comprehensive and strategic," evidenced by massive and robust investment in various sectors.
"Ethiopians really feel at ease and friendly with Chinese businesses, and respect the significant achievement China has made. China has amazed the whole world by becoming one of the world's biggest economies in a relatively short period of time," Ezezew told participants from Ethiopian and Chinese businesses.
"China and Ethiopia have developed multi-dimensional relations, with people-to-people, business-to-business and government-to-government relations being the cornerstones of our relations," he added.
Noting that the two countries' relations have been significantly deepened during the past decades in trade and investment sectors, Ezezew said that the engagement of Chinese companies has contributed a lot to Ethiopia's road construction, supply of manufacturing goods from China, telecommunications, as well as developments in energy power sector.
The East African country licensed more than 1,290 Chinese investment projects during the 2017-18 Ethiopian fiscal year ending on July 8, according to figures from the Ethiopia Investment Commission (EIC).
Mekonen Hailu, communications director at the EIC, told Xinhua that Chinese investment projects made up about 24.8 percent of the total investment licenses the commission provides during the previous fiscal year.
"Chinese investment and capital comprise the largest investment inflow to Ethiopia, with Chinese investors engaged in various sectors ranging from agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors including hospitality and tourism fields," Hailu told Xinhua.
Ethiopian State Minister of Foreign Affairs Aklilu Hailemichael also on Friday underlined the positive contribution of Chinese companies to Ethiopia's investment landscape in line with the Ethiopian government's initiative to attract more foreign investors as the country aspires to be a manufacturing hub of Africa by the year 2025.
The minister said Ethiopia expects more through the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative with a focus on economic cooperation and connectivity among nations.
Habtu Asrat, senior investment promotion expert at the EIC, said that Chinese engagement in Ethiopia corresponds positively with the Ethiopian government's aspirations and ambitions, with due emphasis on infrastructure development and various other development initiatives.
While calling for further investments from China, Asrat said that the Ethiopian government will make its utmost efforts to lure Chinese investments in various areas including agriculture, hotel and tourism, manufacturing and various other sectors.
Ethiopia has in recent years rolled out various incentives to attract foreign investors, including customs duty exemption, income tax holidays, and provision of land at competitive lease price.
China, Ethiopia's largest trading partner, had witnessed trade with Ethiopia increasing at an average rate of 22.2 percent annually during the last decade, according to the EIC.