Remarks by Ambassador Tan Jian of China
at Reppie Waste to Energy Inauguration Ceremony
(19 August 2018, Addis Ababa)
Your Excellency Dr Mulatu Teshome, President of Ethiopia,
Excellency Dr Sileshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity,
Excellency Ms. Dagmawit Moges, Deputy mayor of Addis Ababa
Excellency Ms. Aisha Mohammed, Minister of Construction
Excellency Dr. Getahun Mekuria, Minister of Science and Technology
Excellency Eng. Azeb Asnake, CEO of EEP(Ethiopian Electric Power)
Colleagues and friends,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to attend this inauguration.
I wish to congratulate the Ethiopian government for launching and financing the project.
I also with to thank the Chinese and British companies for the construction, the Danish company for the supervision.
To me, this project -- Reppie Waste to Energy -- is very significant. It has a two-fold relevance.
First, it generates electricity.
Ethiopia has set the target of achieving universal electricity access by 2025. This is an ambitious objective. The Ethiopian government has been working hard and making progress toward achieving this goal.
Electricity is the basic requirement, for our daily life; for poverty alleviation; and for economic development.
But more importantly, this project is about garbage disposal; about recycling and environmental protection; about sustainable development.
Everyday, it disposes - or incinerate - more than 1000 tons of municipal solid waste, about one third of the garbage in the city.
How great it is to turn waste to energy!
In Chinese we have a saying, 变废为宝。
The English equivalent is: from trash to treasure.
And this is the FIRST waste to energy project in Ethiopia. The FIRST in Africa.
Yes, Ethiopia is a developing country -- the least developed in fact.
Yet, Ethiopia has been the champion of sustainable development on many fronts, like climate change, green economy, wind and solar power, biomass, hydro power, etc.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the United Nations launched the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the first 15 years. Now we have the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development, or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Ethiopia did a great job in achieving MDGs, a model in Africa.
It would do even better on SDGs.
We appreciate and applaud Ethiopian policies in this regard.
Today we witnessed the inauguration of the project. Yet this is not the completion of the project -- far from it.
It is one thing to construct, another to manage. And here comes the issue of capacity building. Construction is important; capacity building is equally important, if not more. For many projects in Africa, this could be quite a challenge.
Software could be more important than hardware. Learn to fish is more important than have the fish.
Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa and has the human resource in abundance, not just human brawn, more human brains.
We believe the project management and staff training issues have been taken care of and prioritized.
We see our cooperation with Ethiopia as South-South cooperation.
At the same time, we are also very much for tripartite cooperation: China, Africa and developed countries or international organizations
This Reppie project is a joint work of multilateral cooperation.
And I believe we can do more projects together, by way of co-financing, co-constructing and co-running.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Before conclusion, I wish to take this opportunity to inform that the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will be held in two-week time.
Sustainable development and environmental protection are major components of China-Africa cooperation. China supports Africa’s endeavour towards green, low-carbon and sustainable development, and will actively participate in projects on clean energy, wildlife protection, environment friendly agriculture and smart cities.
We have a cooperation plan in this regard, called China-Africa green development plan.
The Chinese government requests the Chinese enterprises to abide by the laws and regulations of African countries and protect the environment.
We hope more and more companies like China National Electric Engineering Company will come to Africa for win-win cooperation.
We are advancing China-Africa cooperation, not at the expense of the environment.
We will work in concert with African countries towards a beautiful world and a shared future for mankind.
Ethiopia is the land of origin.
Africa is the only place on earth to see the full majesty of nature, Great Rift Valley, volcanic terrain, savannah, wildlife, rain forest, etc.
Let’s join hands and redouble efforts to achieve sustainable development.
Thank you for your attention.