Ethiopian Ambassador to UN Tekeda Alemu takes interview with Chinese media outlets to discuss China’s Belt and Road Initiative in New York on May 10th. [Photo: China Plus/Qian Shanming]
China's Belt and Road initiative has come at just the right time, according to the Ethiopian Ambassador to UN, Tekeda Alemu. He was speaking in New York to a group of UN-based Chinese media outlets in advance of the upcoming Forum in Beijing. Our reporter Qian Shanming heard what he had to say.
With world attention turning to the Belt and Road Forum taking place in Beijing, the Ethiopian Ambassador to UN, Tekeda Alemu, sought to underline the importance of the project for a world facing multiple challenges such as sluggish economic growth, a backlash against globalization, and rising uncertainties.
"It has come at the right time. At a time when xenophobia, at a time when differences among people are highlighted, exaggerated, at a time when there is great need for people to come together. The fact that this initiative is designed to enhance cooperation among countries and peoples is a major advantage of the initiative. It's coming at the right time."
Alemu believes the international community has accorded such prominence to the Belt and Road Initiative because it's established on the basis of equal access to all and is designed to strengthen international cooperation and win-win development.
"One of the very good aspects of the initiative is that no country is excluded, that is a major aspect of the initiative. No countries excluded, no people excluded. All those who would be interested to be active in the process in the initiative are welcomed. It's conducted on the basis of this principle that everybody should benefit from the initiative. Therefore, that is a source of the attraction of the initiative."
Referring to the UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions in support of the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, Alemu said that the UN firmly supported the initiative because it encourages people and countries to come together.
Alemu said the initiative would also accelerate the realization of UN Sustainable Development Goals, by providing genuine and concrete support for developing countries such as his own.
"The Belt and Road Initiative has great importance, great significance from the point of view of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In order to be able to carry out those objectives, a lot of resources are required. As I said, many countries, including Ethiopia, are not in a position or don't have the capacity to mobilize resources domestically. Therefore, the Belt and Road Initiative comes with a lot of resources which would be beneficial to countries such as Ethiopia, and to all those countries that are going to be involved in this process. That is also the significance in terms of the 2030 development agenda."
Alemu went on to say that poor infrastructure has been a major impediment to development in many countries such as Ethiopia, hindering contact among people, and placing obstacles in the way of market expansion and regional connectivity. However, the Belt and Road Initiative brings forth opportunities to make a difference.
Alemu cited the Addis Ababa Rail project in Ethiopia as an example. The 475 million US Dollar urban rail project in Ethiopia's capital city, funded by China and constructed by Chinese companies, is one of the most obvious signs of China's support for infrastructure development.
"The Belt and Road Initiative would have enormous significance in Africa in terms of speeding up the process of development in Ethiopia and in other countries. It would enhance the value of China's partnership in the development of not only the developing countries, also this initiative would connect Asia with Europe and Africa, and therefore it has a global significance. It's not only in connection with the developing world such as Ethiopia; it also has enormous important significance for the global community as a whole."
Alemu believes that even though the initiative stemmed from China, the benefits will eventually reach all parts of the world.
For CRI, this is Qian Shanming from New York.