Remarks by Ambassador at the Chinese New Year Reception
(18 January 2019, Addis Ababa)
Your Excellency Dr Mulatu Teshome and Mme Meaza,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by warmly welcoming all of you to the 2019 Chinese New Year Reception jointly hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia and the Chinese Mission to the AU. The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, which starts on 5 February, is the most important traditional holiday for more than 1.3 billion Chinese, overseas Chinese and some Asian countries.
Me and my wife have been working here for more than a year. One thing we like very much here is that there are three new years: Ethiopia new year Enkutatash, the solar new year and the Chinese Spring Festival. In between there are Christmas and Epiphony, etc. We all like holidays.
Tonight, two art troupes from China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region will put on a spectacular art performance. Many people see China as an agricultural country. Well, we also have vast grassland, like Ethiopia and East Africa. And many ethnic groups used to live nomadic life. Hope the music and dance will give you a taste of the diversity of the Chinese culture.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Taking holiday is not just to relax, also to reflect, to bid farewell to the past and embrace the new.
The year 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up policy which has brought sea change in China. For one thing, 740 million Chinese have been lifted out of poverty. What an achievement!
Our next immediate goal is to become a moderately prosperous society by 2020. After that, to turn China into a prosperous, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious modern socialist country in 2049.
2018 is not an ordinary year for Ethiopia. Very eventful.
The new Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed has launched sweeping reform, and we are all very much impressed. Reform won’t be easy, with many challenges lying ahead.
Yet we have confidence in the Ethiopian Government and its people.
Recently, the World Bank forecasts that the Ethiopian economy will grow at a rate of 8.8% in 2019 -- faster than that of China.
We wish Ethiopia peace and stability, development and prosperity.
We wish you all the success.
And we are with you and behind you.
Let me give you a chronological account of our bilateral exchange of visits.
Dr Abiy Ahmed took office on April 2nd. In little over a month, Chairman Li Zhanshu of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress visited Ethiopia. Five months later, Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed went to attend the FOCAC Beijing Summit and paid an official visit to China. Two days after the solar new year, on January 3rd, China’s State Counselor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi came to visit Ethiopia.
The level and frequency of the exchange of visits speak volume of the importance of our bilateral friendly cooperation, which has stood the test of time.
And we are quite optimistic about our common future, building a community with shared future. With the implementation of the outcome of FOCAC summit, the advancement of the Belt and Road Initiatives -- the two driving forces, we can and will maintain the momentum of our cooperation and bring it to a new high.
I also wish to take this opportunity to say to my fellow colleagues from the diplomatic corps, that China is for north south cooperation, south south cooperation and tripartite cooperation. Let’s join hands and work hard for the peace and development in this region.
2019 will be the year of pig. Pig is the symbol of wealth. Their chubby faces and big ears are signs of fortune. And the piggy bank, let’s make contribution to the piggy bank of development.
Last but most important, this is a free dinner, free show. We welcome you to joining us.
Happy Chinese New Year!
Enjoy the evening.
Thank you very much.