ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Just at the beginning of the concluding 2019, the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa had welcomed the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, a visit described as a vivid manifestation of the historic Ethiopia-China strategic partnership.
Wang, during his meeting with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa, had said that the friendship between Ethiopia and China has withstood the tests of fluctuating international situations and is unbreakable.
As the Ethiopian premier underscored during his meeting with Wang, "the visit by the Chinese Foreign Minister to Ethiopia, just at the beginning of the New Year, bears testimony to the point that China is a true friend of Ethiopian and African people."
Courtesy to the ever-growing Ethiopia-China ties, the two countries over the course of the concluding 2019 had achieved various milestones in their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, ranging from cooperation in capacity development and knowledge transfer to flourishing socioeconomic and people-to-people ties.
CHINA HAILED AS ETHIOPIA'S PROVEN CAPACITY DEV'T PARTNER
The multifaceted Chinese capacity development and knowledge transfer assistance to Ethiopia is one of the major areas, which the Ethiopian government singled out as one of the many positive outcomes of the Sino-Ethiopia cooperation in 2019.
Chinese capacity development and knowledge transfer assistance to the East African country, among other areas, includes education and training opportunities in major Chinese higher education facilities targeting young Ethiopians across various fields, knowledge transfer through the deployment of Chinese experts across various parts of Ethiopia, as well as enabling Ethiopians in major scientific and technological developments, an initiative that goes as far as engaging Ethiopian experts in major space science initiatives.
On Dec. 20, as Ethiopia successfully launched its maiden Chinese-backed satellite, dubbed ETRSS-1, into space from a space center in China, Ethiopians from all walks of lives commended China's support to the Horn of African country's ambition in space science sector.
The Ethiopian premier, in his congratulatory address to the nation upon the successful launch of the satellite to space, mainly stressed that the project had "transferred significant knowledge to Ethiopian experts who have been able to take part from design to production" in the satellite project.
As Ethiopia embarked on various new technological initiatives, most of which involving the latest technological advancements that are not common in the east African country, China's capacity development engagement has proven vital in filling the technology gap.
One major area that Chinese capacity development assistance brought commendable results is the railway sector, in which young Ethiopians, who never had practical experience of modern electrified railway operation, have been able to acquire much-needed practical and theoretical knowledge and skills to master railway operations as they aspire to take over operation and management of Africa's first fully-electrified transnational railway from Chinese experts within the coming years.
Speaking to Xinhua, Tilahun Sarka, Director-General of Ethiopia-Djibouti Standard Gauge Railway Share Company (EDR), also hailed the ongoing comprehensive knowledge transfer initiative.
According to Sarka, the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, which was jointly built by two Chinese companies, is presently managed by Chinese experts for a period of six years, due to the shortage of electrified railway operation and management experience both in Ethiopia and Djibouti.
Sarka, noting that experts drawn from the two Chinese companies are currently undertaking all the maintenance, rail captaincy and control operations, said that efforts are smoothly progressing to transfer rail captaincy to local engineers.
"Our plan is to fully take over rail captaincy by local captains next year, then maintenance operations and finally control unity activities." Sarka told Xinhua recently.
FLOURISHING SOCIOECONOMIC, PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE TIES
Amid the ever-expanding Ethiopia-China ties, the two countries have been also enjoying positive people-to-people ties, in which the number of Chinese and Ethiopian nationals traveling overseas to the other has also ignited an imputes in the two peoples' relations.
On Friday, the Ethiopian Ambassador to China Teshome Toga Chanaka had affirmed that Ethiopia and China are committed to forging stronger bonds of friendship, by putting the people-to-people ties at the basis.
"Ethiopia and China are eager to share the texture of their common destinies, and are forging an even stronger bond of friendship," an Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement issued on Friday quoted Chanaka as saying.
From tourism and healthcare sectors cooperation to economic sector partnership, the two countries have also envisaged to further boosting their people-to-people ties, which is said to be at the center of all forms of engagements.
According to Liu Yu, Economic and Commercial Minister Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, the successful Ethiopia-China ties in the public health sector would further deepen the people-to-people connectivity between the two countries.
"The people-to-people connectivity is most fundamental and the most important to spur bilateral relations between any countries," Liu had said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
"The healthcare cooperation between the two countries can lay a solid foundation for the good relations between the two countries, and that's why both Chinese and Ethiopian governments keep an importance to cooperation in the public health sector," Liu added.
FURTHER DEEPENING STRATEGIC TIES
As the imminent 2020 is set to mark the 50-years anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic relations among the two countries, experts and policymakers from the two countries are also emphasizing the vital imperative to further deepen the partnership that enjoyed great success over the past five decades period.
Speaking to Xinhua, Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, who served as an economic advisor to the African Union (AU) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), recently emphasized the crucial need for Ethiopia and fellow African countries to sustain their engagement with China, noting that China currently stood as the single largest bilateral financier of infrastructure in Africa.
Costantinos also expressed expectation that Ethiopia and China would foster their relations in contrary to allegations that relations between Ethiopia and China had cooled recently.
The expert also indicated that "Ethiopia has benefited from China's investments, grants and loans" as he emphasized that partnership with China has helped Ethiopia to build close to 74,000 km of all-weather roads, modern railway lines, hydro-power stations, transmission lines and industrial parks.
"This is a great stride towards structural transformation," Costantinos said, adding that "some arenas, in particular that merit attention in this regard focusing on excellence and not just quantity and cost.
Costantinos further stressed the various ways that Ethiopia recently embarked on to benefit from its partnership with China.
"It is about engaging more local human endowment in Ethiopia by using the vast number of graduates from universities and vocational schools," he said, adding "it is about greater capacity building of local competence of those graduates from universities and vocational schools."