File photo shows the 230 kilo volt Ashegoda Wind Power Project substation near Mekelle Town, 783 km north of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia. The project generates 120 MW of electricity annually. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)
ADDIS ABEBA, April 24 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government on Tuesday revealed that it expects to sign a major energy development accord with China during the upcoming second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, slated to be held later this month in Beijing, China.
The agreement, which is scheduled to be signed as part of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's visit to China to attend the forum, is said to include an electric transmission and substation project, Ethiopia's State Minister of Finance, Teshome Taffese, told reporters on Tuesday.
According to Taffese, the electric transmission and substation project, which is part of the Ethiopian government's major development aspiration, will be implemented in a public-private partnership modality with a Chinese firm.
The state minister of finance, who noted that the East African country is currently endeavoring to become a middle-income country within the next decade, said that Ethiopia had established a public-private partnership office in a bid to facilitate the cooperation between the public and private sectors.
The Ethiopian government has already announced 7 billion U.S. dollars' worth of development projects across different sectors that are projected to be implemented under a public-private partnership framework, according to Taffese.
According to Taffese, a total of 17 projects were unveiled by the Ethiopian government late last year, of which three were road construction projects while the remaining 14 were power supply projects.
"The government of Ethiopia is giving more emphasis on the significance of private sector development and on easing access to finance, a problem faced by the industry sector at all levels," Taffese said.
Last month, the East African country had inaugurated another Chinese-built power distribution, rehabilitation and upgrading project.
Built by China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of State Grid Corporation of China, the 61 million U.S. dollar was financed by the World Bank, according to the Ethiopian Electric Utility.
The project, which is part of a nationwide program involving eight major cities, will mainly benefit the grid system of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
The seven other cities are Jimma, Dire Dawa, Bahir Dar, Mekele, Hawassa, Adama and Dessie.
The Ethiopian government had recently announced that it will send a strong delegation to the forum, including Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and various other high-level officials.
Nebiat Getachew, spokesperson of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also told Xinhua recently that Ethiopia and China already enjoy multifaceted ties, which are expected to be further strengthened at the upcoming forum.
"Ethiopia is a strong partner of China in the African continent. Ethiopia's expected attendance at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation is a further testament to the strong bilateral ties," said Getachew.