Beijing May 18/2017 Ethiopia prioritizes China as a source of high quality manufacturing industry in its pursuit of development, Prime Minister Hailemariam said.
“Ethiopia’s current focus is on industrialization and building competitive manufacturing industry and China is our top priority as source of high quality manufacturing in key labor intensive sectors”, he said.
The Premier made the remark during the Ethio-Fujian investment cooperation forum held today in Fujian Province, the second destination in the delegation’s provincial tour in China.
Fujian has the 10th largest economy in China with 429.3 billion USD GDP in 2016 and 8th in terms of flow of foreign direct investment, apart from being home to many anchor companies.
In addition, the province has set up center of the 21st Maritime Silk Road, a Chinese strategic initiative to increase investment and foster cooperation across the historic Silk Road.
It is also among the major FDI source provinces in which by the end of last March eight Fujian-based enterprises invested in Ethiopia in different sectors with a combined capital of 9 million USD.
It is in this spirit that PM Hailemariam and his delegation visited the province and major company leaders.
“Ethiopia will continue to be the favorite country for Chinese investors” because of low labor cost, cheap energy and land as well as availability of trainable working force, he said.
In addition to the province’s capacity in manufacturing industries, particularly in textile, garment and leather, the Premier said the development and management of industrial parks has also attracted his government’s attention.
In this regard, Hailemariam urged the provincial government and Fujian-based companies to set up a special economic zone in Ethiopia, pledging to support them in their investments.
Ethiopia, which aspires to transform its agrarian economy into industrialized one, has been striving to attract more foreign direct investment particularly in the manufacturing sector.
As a country that encourages its enterprises to go global and invest in the developing world, China is the major target of Ethiopia.
The Premier’s visit to the provinces is aimed at utilizing this opportunity and convincing companies to invest in the country and provincial governments to encourage the enterprises to go to Ethiopia, Government Communication Affairs Office State Minister Zadeg Abreha stated.
In this regard, the visit and bilateral meetings held with provincial governors and leaders of major enterprises in Shandong and Fujian have brought success, he added.
The State Minister said leaders of the companies that are operating in Ethiopia and who have met the Premier are willing and ready to expand their investment in Ethiopia.
Enterprises that have not started their investment are also ready either to change their plans into reality or conduct feasibility study that would enable them to engage in the country, he added.
Fashion Flying Group, a Fujian-based company is among the enterprises that have decided to expand investment in Ethiopia.
The Group engaged in garment industry has been operating in Ethiopia at Bole Lemi Industrial Park since 2014. The company has plans to expand its investment in different phases with a total of 20 million USD, Chen Geng, President of the company said.
The enterprise is aspiring to build a full production chain in Ethiopia by moving its fiber and fabric factories, design, printing and embroidery companies as well as sewing machines.
The President noted that “Ethiopia is a very good country. Because there are lots of people and the government is very efficiently working; and there is also peace in the country. We can feel very safe there. Ethiopia is a very good country to invest”.