ADDIS ABABA, Chinese investments in Ethiopia have been helping to turn the Horn of Africa nation into a manufacturing hub in Africa, according to Ethiopian Ambassador to China Berhane Gebre-Christos.

The China Daily Monday quoted Berhane as stating that the relationship between the two countries is a win-win situaion for both and a good example for Africa and the rest of the world.

One model of the co-operation between the two countries is the industrial zones, which have been pushing forward Ethiopia’s economy, the diplmoat added. Three of them are operating in Ethiopia, and 15 more are being constructed by the Ethiopian government and Chinese companies.

“We believe this is not enough. We need to do more. We are working very closely with China,” Ambassador Berhane said.

The Eastern Industry Zone, located near Addis Ababa, has attracted investment from more than 20 Chinese firms, including Huajian International Shoe City plc, which employs at least 1,500 Ethiopians and 300 Chinese, making women’s shoes for export to Europe and the United States.

Companies from Turkey, India, Brazil and other parts of the world have also landed in the Ethiopian industrial zones, but the number of Chinese companies at these zones has been growing significantly since the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) in December 2015, he added.

“Chinese companies have a good understanding of our situation. In terms of fundamental outlook, China and Ethiopia share the same views, especially when it comes to development,” the Ambassador noted.

Another industrial zone, developed by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation in Hawassa, about 270 kilometres south of Addis Ababa, started operation in 2016. Berhane said that it aims to create 50,000 jobs and generate turnover of 1.0 billion US Dollars a year.

“We want to make Ethiopia an industrial hub in Africa. China has been very supportive, encouraging companies to invest in Ethiopia,” Berhane said, adding that the Ethiopian government provides convenience in visa application, Customs clearance and infrastructure facilities to investors.

The Ethiopian government, similar to what China does, draws up five-year plans for economic development. Berhane said that the country is in the second phase of the 2nd Growth and Transformation Plan, which aims to develop Ethiopia into a low-level developed nation within 30 to 35 years.