Ambassador of Ethiopia to China: The Need to Incentivize Chinese Businesses to Invest in Africa

June 13 , 2022


I have no doubt in my mind many other regions and countries are looking inward, and China is the only major economy partner that can really work with Africa in terms of elevating the current economic challenges.

——H.E. Mr. Teshome Toga Chanaka, Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the People’s Republic of China


Discussions and engagements like these are extremely important in the current environment, because we’re talking about partnerships between China and Africa. Now in the China-Africa partnership, the statistics clearly show that China is Africa’s major trading partner and major source of FDI, and of course China has taken over in terms of offering training programs and scholarships to other countries.
Now the problem with this is that many outside Africa and China are setting the narrative for our partnership and we have been bogged down by their narrative. I think it’s time that we set a new narrative ourselves for our partnership. We have to set our own agenda. We will not ignore those who are trying to distract us, but I think it is important that we focus on setting our own agenda. The reality is that Africa stood with China when COVID-19 broke out in Wuhan. Furthermore, when COVID-19 cases were reported in Africa, China stood with Africa and has continued to support Africa.
Next, I would like to touch on two major issues. One is humanitarian work. I agree that we need to contain COVID-19 in Africa. Otherwise, there is a missing link because, as was already mentioned, when the situation was better in Africa, we couldn’t come to China. Now that China has contained the virus, Africa is in the middle of the fight, so we need to really fill that missing link. Secondly, apart from humanitarian issues, for us, in terms of long-term recovery and sustainable development, if we are going to look at a major country who will partner with Africa after COVID-19 in recovery, it is China! I have no doubt in my mind many other regions and countries are looking inward, and China is the only major economy partner that can really work with Africa in terms of elevating the current economic challenges.
Finally, I would like to put forward several concrete proposals. First, the issue of debt relief is good. It is easing our current pain. But as has been mentioned, clearly, it is a drop in ocean and I fully agree with that. We are negotiating with China within the framework of the G20 debt relief mechanism, but it’s not sufficient. It’s not enough and what we need is more capital injections and more stimulus packages, because many of our economies have been not producing at their full capacity and most Chinese enterprises in our countries have not been producing at their full capacity. So they really need support in terms of capital, and African economies, including my own country, need a stimulation package. The second is easy access to market in China for our commodities and trade. Of course, when it comes to trade we have two important problems. One was mentioned by previous speakers that we have what we call a structural problem from the supply side. But at the same time the issue of value addition is very critical for African commodities. That said, easy market access during COVID and post-COVID is extremely important for Africa.
So how can we really encourage more Chinese enterprises to do business in Africa and invest in Africa? The creation of job opportunities for young people will only come through investment and increased business cooperation. So how can we work together with China to get more investment from China? What we see today is that countries are taking unilateral measures and then we have these problems so the need for coordination not only between China and Africa, but between China and the rest of the world is extremely important. Many of us are still using traditional methods of selling and buying our goods. So using technology, transferring technology is extremely vital and important. How can we work with China again to transfer technology?
The final point I wish to make is about training and education of African students in China. As of now I know that about 15,000 scholarships have been promised. The key factor for our development is human capital and human resource development. So we would like to encourage the training of our students in science, technology, engineering, and technical and vocational training. China has the capacity and can help us again by giving more scholarships to African students and I think this is also in the best interest of China as well. China has a stake in Africa. I believe we can work together and overcome this challenge because China has also become a source of inspiration for us not only in terms of transformation, but also overcoming COVID-19.

Adapted from the transcript of a speech presented at the Sino-Africa Dialogue on Challenges and Cooperation in Pandemic Times (August 2020).



// Editor’s note
China and the World in a Changing Context: Perspectives from Ambassadors to China is the fourth book in the “China and Globalization” series, and was published in partnership with Springer Nature. With a total of 23 essays and 10 speeches from 27 Beijing-based ambassadors representing Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Oceania, this volume examines a complex and changing world from the perspective of ambassadors, who are frontline participants of globalization and poised to champion more inclusive and more effective global governance. Their insights on China and the world in this book provide a unique and poignant view for anyone trying to make sense of the rapidly evolving global context.


China and the World in a Changing Context
Perspectives from Ambassadors to China

 Huiyao Wang, Lu MiaoPublished in March, 2022
ISBN: 978-981-16-8085-4
Publisher: Springer Nature Publishing Group
Download Book at Springer

CCG’s new book China and the World in a Changing Context: Perspectives from Ambassadors to China has been released online. This open access book presents China and a changing globalized world from the perspective of 23 ambassadors to China, covers key development topics including economic growth, foreign policy, and SDG-related themes.
Series Editors: Huiyao Wang Lu Miao

Publisher: Springer Nature Publishing Group