PM scouts Chinese funds for GTP II projects


An Ethiopian delegation of top government officials were in China to recruit companies and funds for Ethiopia upcoming five year national development plan.
The delegation, led by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn left for China on Tuesday, September 2 for a weeklong visit.  After attending the 70th anniversary of the Second World War victory, the delegation met with top Chinese government officials including Prime Minister Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping.
Officials in Addis Ababa told Capital that in addition to attending the anniversary, the delegation aimed to conclude some bilateral deals with the Chinese government and other stakeholders to boost the economic partnership between the two countries.
In the previous five years of the first Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), the Chinese government and its financial institutions had been major financers of major infrastructural development projects including Ethiopia’s mega projects.
The recent visit is expected to accelerate Chinese support for upcoming projects planned for implementation over the coming five years. 
China is a major development partner for Africa, known for placing  fewer conditions on bilateral agreements, compared with the western or international financial institutions. Recently, Hailemariam told journalists that China has promised to make Ethiopia a model country for Chinese investment and development partnership with the continent.
The delegation also met with executives of several Chinese companies. The government has targeted to undertake massive public investment in projects like agro-processing parks, special economic zones and other infrastructure projects in the coming years. For the realization of this plan, huge capital investment is required from international partners among whom China is the most favorable ally. The two countries have also signed a development project deal valued at USD 1.4 billion.
China has financially supported the cross border Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway and inner-city Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit (LRT) project. It also financed energy projects lending money to the transmission line work on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a wind farm in Adama and other hydroelectric projects over the past few years. On the current visit, China has agreed to finance other hydro projects including the Halele Werabessa Dam. 
Chinese companies are also expected to be the main source for FDI, mainly in the manufacturing sector.   For instance, Chinese companies are expected to invest on the special economic zone that will be established on the outer suburbs of Dire Dawa, on a location that is relatively developed and closer to the port of Djibouti.
The delegation has visited different Chinese cities inviting entrepreneurs to invest in Ethiopia. In August 2011, the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi had paid a similar visit to China, after concluding  the first year of  GTP I.
The Chinese Huajian Group, one of the top three shoe producers in the world, invested in Ethiopia following the company officials’ meeting with the former Prime Minister.
On his visit, Hailemariam also spoke with Huajian officials and other leather companies to expand their manufacturing sector in Ethiopia. Experts have expressed their view that the current visit may be effective in attracting big Chinese investors to the country.