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Li Keqiang and Ethiopian Prime Minister Jointly Attend Inauguration Ceremony of Ethiopia's First Expressway and Visit Eastern Industry Zone
2014/05/06

In the afternoon of May 5 local time, Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia jointly attended the inauguration ceremony of the first phase project of the Addis Ababa-Adama Expressway, and cut the ribbon for the opening of the second phase project.

The Expressway connects Ethiopia's capital and Adama, its second largest city, with a total length of 78 kilometers. It is the first expressway in the country as well as in East Africa, and is fully constructed by Chinese enterprises with Chinese technology and standards.

When Li Keqiang and Hailemariam arrived, the band played and staff representatives presented bouquets to the Chinese Premier and the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

In his speech, Li Keqiang greeted the engineers and technicians of both countries who participated in the construction of the project. He said, I am so glad to know that 90 percent of the construction workers of the Expressway are local people. During the visit, I witnessed the flourishing development of Ethiopia's infrastructure construction, which indicates that Ethiopia's economic development is stepping on the fast lane, like the vehicles on the Expressway, running fast forward.

Li Keqiang pointed out, the Chinese enterprises, in cooperation with African countries, should construct high-quality projects, and also train the local staff and create more jobs for the local people. Hope that Chinese enterprises will abide by local laws, respect local customs and habits, pay attention to environment protection, and fulfill their social responsibilities. Currently, both China and Ethiopia hope to further strengthen cooperation in infrastructure, and the projects including urban light rail projects and expressway projects have become successful models of bilateral cooperation. It is believed that the cooperation between the two sides in such fields as manufacturing industry will achieve new and fruitful results in the future.

In his speech, Hailemariam thanked China for its efforts in the successful implementation of the project, and believed that the construction of the Expressway will mark a new start of friendly cooperation between the two countries.

In the afternoon, Li Keqiang, accompanied by Hailemariam, visited the Eastern Industry Zone.

The China-Ethiopia Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, funded and constructed by Chinese enterprises, has already had 19 enterprises settled, which provides a great number of jobs for Ethiopia. When Li Keqiang entered the shoemaking workshop of Huajian Group, the chief executive introduced that their enterprise has employed thousands of local workers, soon after the start of production, and has led the development of local leather factories, farms, transport companies and others. Li Keqiang had a nice talk with the Ethiopian employees and asked about their incomes as well as their feelings about working here. The employees told the Chinese Premier that their family lives have been notably improved since they worked here. Premier Li wished them an increasingly better work and a better life. Li Keqiang also visited the East Steel PLC in Ethiopia, encouraging the company to better integrate itself into local development. He said China is willing to give priority to Africa by transferring labor intensive industries and advantageous industry capacity suitable for and needed by it, to enhance their self-development capabilities and to create more job opportunities, so as to achieve mutual benefits and win-win results between China and Africa and better benefit the two peoples.

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