A Chinese business delegation came to Ethiopia from Foshan City, one of the most significant cities in the country’s industrial revolution.
The delegation – from a range of business sectors – met with their counterparts, government officials and figures from the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA) at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa.
Legesse Geremew, councillor at the Ethiopian Consulate at Guangzhou, which is responsible for six Chinese provinces, said that the delegation came to Ethiopia after the consular office organised a tour to Foshan province last October.
The Ethiopian diplomat recalled that a similar business delegation visited Ethiopia a year ago and some from Guangdong province have already invested here.
Following last year’s visit, two major Chinese shoe producers, Top Glory and Luxj, decided to invest in Ethiopia.
“Hujian, one of the three biggest shoe producers in the world – which is from Guangdong province – has already commenced production in the country,” Legesse said.
According to Legesse, Foshan is known for production of household items, ceramics and electronics. “We hope the industries will create market links or investments in Ethiopia,” he said.
At the event in Addis, Ethiopian officials presented a plan for investment in the country.
Fitsum Arega, head of the Ethiopian Investment Agency, also described the investment environment as one in which there are opportunities for the Chinese business community in the country.
The rate of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from China and other eastern countries is currently outpacing investment from the west.
Mulu Solomon, president of the ECCSA, said growth of trade relations between Ethiopia and China is significant.
She said Ethiopian exports to China grew to $280 million in 2011, from just $15 million in 2004. Ethiopian imports from China grew to $1.4 billion in 2011 from $338 million in 2004.
Ethiopia has three consular offices in China, while the Ethiopian Embassy in China has been led by Seyoum Mesfin, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, since 2010.
Between 1998 and 2012, the number of Chinese companies investing in Ethiopia reached 938.