(10 June 2018, Dukem, Ethiopia)
Your Excellency Mr. Demeke Mekonnen,Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia,
Your Excellency Mrs. Teyiba Hassen, Vice President of Oromia Regional State,
Mr. Pan Xianwen, Chairman of Sansheng Shares,
Mr. Lu Qiyuan, Chairman of Eastern Industry Zone,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good morning to all of you.
(On Sansheng Pharmaceutical Project)
Today is Sunday, a sunny day, a big day. First of all, I wish to thank Mr. Demeke, DPM, for gracing the occasion with your presence.
It is a great pleasure and honor to join you all here, celebrating the inauguration of Phase I Sansheng Pharmaceutical in the Eastern Industry Zone. I wish to start by congratulating Sansheng for this investment.
To me, it has the following features.
One, a big budget project, with an investment of $ 85 million. Please be reminded that this is only the first phase of Sansheng Pharmaceutical. Recently you may have read headlines in the media like: China is scaling back its investment in Ethiopia, or Chinese investment has reached its limit. Not true. According to the statistics, compared to 2015, FDI from China to Ethiopia has doubled in 2017. Only the sky is the limit when is comes to Chinese investment in Ethiopia.
Two, environment-friendly and cutting-edge technologies. The equipment in this factor is the best in China. Some people say that China, in advancing the Belt and Road initiative, is exporting outdated assembly lines, exporting pollution. Not true again. In terms of level of technologies, this factory can match that in the developed countries.
Three, employing Ethiopians. I am told 90% of its staff are local employees, half of which Ethiopian university graduates. I believe Sansheng will invest more in human resource. Let me make a point here. There are three kinds of resources: financial resource, natural resource, and human resource. For me, HR is the most important. When I say HR, it is not just human brawn, more human brains. And we developing countries here HR potential in abundance. Let's tap this bonanza. It can make a big difference.
Four, contributing to Ethiopia's economic development. Over 80% of the essential medicine demand in Ethiopia is imported from international market, which costs around $ 500 million every year. This project will save a lot of foreign currency and earn foreign currency for Ethiopia. It pays tax, creates jobs, and brings in technological and managerial expertise. It is a boost to Ethiopian economy.
(On China Ethiopia Relations)
Ladies and gentlemen,
As ambassador of China to Ethiopia, please allow me to say a few words on China-Ethiopia relations.
First, we fully support the economic development of Ethiopia. Our bilateral relations, termed as Comprehensive and Strategic Cooperative Partnership, are in their historical best.
China has been investing in Ethiopia, building infrastructure and advancing industrialization. This three "I"s are key to development. For so many years, there have been teaching and preaching of the merits of free trade. Yes, free trade is good --- no doubt about that. Yet in the absence of the three "I"s --- investment, industrialization and infrastructure develop, African countries will remain at the bottom end of the global value chain selling raw materials. Not fair.
Building industrial parks (IP) is the major policy of Ethiopia in advancing industrialization. Chinese enterprises are very active in building the IPs as well as investing in the IPs. There is a saying in Chinese, 筑巢引凤, building the nest and attracting the phoenix. The industrial park is the nest; companies phoenixes. The nest needs to be supported and taken care of by the Ethiopian government. The phoenixes already nested in the Park will spread the world of the good investment environment. More and more phoenixes like Sansheng Pharmaceutical will come. This is a virtuous cycle.
I also wish to take this opportunity to commend the Eastern Industry Zone. Now we have 15-20 IPs, but this is the FIRST in Ethiopia. It has been called "industry zone" from the very beginning, which to me is no difference with the industrial park. Mr. Lu, President of the Eastern Industrial Zone told me they will expand and enter Phase II develop of the EIZ. I hope they can start the construction soon because more and more companies like Sansheng are coming. The EIZ is the goose that lays the golden eggs. My Embassy firmly supports Phase II development, which is good for Dukem, good for Oromia, good for Ethiopia. EIZ has become a showcase for Ethiopia, visited by many other countries. Let's cooperate more closely to make it even better.
Second, we are quite confident of Ethiopia's future.
The past several years have witnessed some unrest in Ethiopia. Yet our confidence remains unshaken. Take Sansheng for example, its construction started in October 2016 and ti took about two years to accomplish, overlapping the periods of the state of emergencies. That's clear proof of our unwavering commitment to Ethiopia.
You may ask WHY? Because we have confidence in EPRDF, in Ethiopian people. Last Sunday I attended a event. I said Ethiopia has been doing well in marathon, unarguably the most challenging competition among all the sports. We see endurance, determination, stamina and strong will of Ethiopian people as demonstrated in the marathon race.
As the only African country that has never been colonized, Ethiopia could again inspire other African countries to win political independence.
With its double-digit growth for over a decade, Ethiopia could again inspire other African countries to achieve economic development.
Third, we will continue to promote health cooperation with Ethiopia.
Since 1974, China has sent 20 medical teams comprising over 300 personnel to Ethiopia, treating mor than 2 million person-time Ethiopian patients. In addition, China has helped build hospitals.
The public health sector is an important component within the framework of China-Africa Cooperation. President Xi Jinping has made it clear that China would encourage and support mor local drug production by Chinese enterprises in Africa to provide African's easy access to medicine. This could well align with the "national strategy and plan of action for pharmaceutical manufacturing development in Ethiopia(2015-2025)". And the Project of Sansheng Pharmaceutical is one of the practical outcomes of China-Ethiopia public health cooperation.
China will host the FOCAC Beijing Summit this September, the theme of which is "win-win cooperation and join hands to build a closer community with a shared future for China and Africa". We will align our "Belt and Road" initiative with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, with the Agenda 2063 of the African Union, with the GTP II of Ethiopia. We will compliment each other and seek the synergy among our initiatives.
China will continue to work closely with Ethiopians, maintaining the momentum of our cooperation and bringing it to a new high.
I wish to conclude by thanking Ethiopia for the valuable support form the Federal Government, the Oromia Regional State and Dukem City.
I wish to thank Sansheng Pharmaceutical, the Eastern Industry Zone.
I wish the project a complete success.
Thank you very much.