To be held in Beijing, China, the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation is set to welcome thousands of delegates on April 25 to April 27 including Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at the invitation of China, reflecting on the theme “Shaping a Brighter Shared Future.”
The Ethiopian Prime Minister is to join delegates from around the world, including about three dozen heads of states, including those from Africa, who have increasingly become dependent on China for the building of the continents infrastructures, owing a growing debt to the Asian nation.
“BRI cooperation is not a shop-talk, but an action-oriented initiative that delivers tangible outcomes,” the Chinese ambassador to Ethiopia, Tan Jian, told a press conference at the premise of the local Embassy on Thursday.
The second BRF is expected to produce a full range of deliverables, including governmental cooperation agreements and initiatives, as well as concrete cooperation projects involving participation of the business sectors.”
“We hope and believe that the participating parties attending the Forum will build on successful practices, and jointly develop a multi-tiered cooperation framework with more real results of still higher quality,” he added.
The Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR) or the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, is a development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organizations in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa. The paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, originally announced the strategy during official visits to Indonesia and Kazakhstan in 2013.
The Chinese government calls the initiative “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future”. Some observers see it as a push for Chinese dominance in global affairs with a China-centered trading network.
In another development, the ambassador responded to questions raised by The Reporter regarding the situation of Nazrawit Abera, an Ethiopian imprisoned in China, accused of a drug offense and is expected to face the death penalty for a crime her family and friends insist was a setup by a childhood friend.
The ambassador asked the media and the public to let the Chinese court system run its course and that the 27-year old has been provided adequate legal representation and advocacy through proper diplomatic channels.
It is to be recalled that Abiy told the family last month, he plans to advocate for her immediate release as one of his top priorities when he visits China later this month.