Saturday, June 22, 2024
BusinessInvestment security drives China-Ethiopia police training hub

Investment security drives China-Ethiopia police training hub

In an effort to bolster security for burgeoning Chinese investments across Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa region, plans are underway for a new Chinese-backed police training facility to be established in the country. The move indicates growing security cooperation between the two allies.

The police training center will provide Ethiopian police officers opportunities to learn from China’s experiences in ensuring the security of major investment projects. It will also offer training on cutting-edge police technologies and applications that are relevant to protecting strategic development initiatives.

Ethiopian police stationed at various Chinese investment sites, such as industrial parks and railways, will participate in the training courses. The facility will additionally enroll police officers from other countries in the Horn of Africa region, according to information from Ethiopian federal police officials.

 “The request to build a law enforcement Center came from China. They have expressed their interest to our Commissioner General and we have accepted the offer,” Jeilan Abdi, spokesperson of Ethiopia’s Federal Police Commission, told The Reporter.

Though the definitive date to start the construction has not been set yet, the Spoksperson says that “the most significant factor here remains to be the need for us to work in harmony with China.” 

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Last week, a high-level Chinese delegation led by Vice Minister of Public Security, Chen Zhiyuan, met with Ethiopian Federal Police Commissioner Demelash Gebremichael and discussed the proposed center. A bilateral committee will soon commence a feasibility study for the construction of the new Center and take all necessary measures to make it a reality.

China’s push to establish the new center comes amid growing security concerns over recent breaches threatening Chinese investments across Ethiopia. Protecting strategic developmental projects and personnel has become a priority.

Jelian says that China now aims to take a more proactive approach to safeguarding its projects.

He confirmed “attacks and abductions” targeting Chinese investments and workers have sparked concern.

“It wasn’t long ago when anti-peace elements attempted an assault on Chinese investments,” he said. “Oromia Police engaged in intense gunfire to safeguard them, though damages were inflicted on both sides.”

Kidnappings targeting Chinese citizens also weigh heavily, he said.

Sources within Ethiopia’s Adama industrial parks, dominated by Chinese investors, revealed frustrations over inadequate local security, leading to minor conflicts often arise due to a variety of security issues not being properly addressed.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a high-ranking source within a Chinese-owned factory shed in the park said product theft and concerns over safety, particularly threats posed by youth during periods of political instability, were primary worries.

“The park receives protection from Federal Police but not to the level Chinese investors expect,” the source said. “The government needs input on areas craving enhanced security.” Some companies wish to establish private security teams, but “are forced to hire local agencies formed by residents around the park.”

However, “companies want trusted outside agencies, not local hires demanding jobs.” The source acknowledged that “residents rightfully seek opportunities since the park is built on their land, but investors also have the right determine suitable roles.”

While Federal Police and agencies hired by Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC) oversee outside protection, “resident security agencies are assigned to secure the factory premises – sometimes causing minor conflicts,” the source said.

The Federal Police Commission has launched specialized divisions for key sectors like rail, industry, and academia.

Jeilan noted, “China already provides invaluable support such as technological equipment’s, especially to police in universities. Currently, our police officials are in China for training.”

“China wants to elevate its support to a higher level with the new center,” he added. 

As Ethiopia’s leading investor, China seeks a secure environment to further the growing partnership.

After aligning its 10-year development program with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the nations upgraded ties to an “all-weather strategic partnership,” further bolstered by the training center.

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