A delegation, led by ZHU Gongshan, Chairman of GCL Group, paid a working visit to Ethiopia and Djibouti on May 9-13, East Africa Time, where they met with politicians of and Chinese ambassadors to the two countries, and made active discussions with relevant parties on jointly ensuring smooth operation of the “Ethiopia – Djibouti oil and gas project”, as well as promoting cooperation in energy production and applications, etc. 

A photo of Omar Guelleh, Djibouti’s President Ismail, and ZHU Gongshan

During its stay in Ethiopia, the delegation first of all visited TAN Jian, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, who spoke highly of the progress in the “Ethiopia – Djibouti oil and gas project”, considering that the project neither increase the national debt nor plunder the resources of Ethiopia, is helpful for alleviating the pressure of shortfall in foreign exchange of the country, and plays an important guiding role in regional development. 

A group photo of Melese Alemu, Ethiopian Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas (third from the left) and the members of the delegation headed by ZHU Gongshan (fourth from the left)

During his talks with Abiye Ahmed, Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister, and Melese Alemu, Ethiopian Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas, the both sides recognized the importance of the project to the economy and society of Ethiopia, and reached consensuses on achieving goals of development in different stages. Zhu is the first Chinese entrepreneur with whom Abiye Ahmed met since he was sworn in as Ethiopia’s prime minister in April this year. At the meeting, Zhu said that GCL is optimistic about the prospects of the economic and social development of Ethiopia, and is willing to base itself on oil & gas projects, continuously and steadily advance the development of the whole industrial chain, and make positive contributions to the economic reform and development of the country. Abiye Ahmed spoke highly of the investments of GCL in Ethiopia, stressed that the “Ethiopia – Djibouti oil and gas project” is the largest energy project of Ethiopia and a model project for deepening Chinese-Ethiopian cooperation for implementing the “Belt and Road” initiative and in building up production capacity. He pledged that the Ethiopian government will continue to steadfastly support project development so as to make smooth and rapid progress.

On the afternoon of May 11, East Africa Time, Zhu and other outstanding enterprise representatives were received by LI Zhanshu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, who was visiting the Africa. LI Zhanshu met with Mulatu Teshome, Ethiopian President, Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopian Prime Minister, respectively, who reiterated the importance of the project and expressed their willingness to consider the project as the Number One project and raise it to a higher strategic level.

TAN Jian, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia (third from the right) talks with ZHU Gongshan (fourth from the right)

On the morning of May 12, East Africa Time, the delegation concluded its visit to Ethiopia and arrived in Djibouti. During his visit to Djibouti, Zhu and Ismail Omar Guelleh, Djibouti’s President, held talks and successfully signed an agreement on natural gas pipeline project development.

During the meeting, Zhu gave a brief introduction to GCL’ investments in and future planning for Djibouti, indicated that energy development is the bottleneck restricting the country from making economic and social progresses. He pledged that GCL is willing to cooperate with the Djiboutian side to actively implement the consensuses reached during the meeting between XI Jinping, Chinese President, and Guelleh, Djiboutian President, in Beijing in November 2017 on pragmatic cooperation in liquefied natural gas pipelines. He promised that GCL will, under the framework of the “Belt and Road” initiative, make every effort to advance the “Ethiopia – Djibouti oil and gas project” and steer the energy and deep-processing industrial revolution in an all-around way, so as to achieve mutual benefits and win-win outcomes. Guelleh spoke highly of the measures taken by GCL for its investments in Djibouti and considered that the rapid implementation of the project will bring the development of the country with a historic opportunity. Guelleh noted that China and Djibouti are keeping deepening their strategic partnership and strengthening political trust and economic mutual benefits, the Djiboutian government considers the direct investments from Chinese enterprises as an important driving force of economic and social development of the country, and it is an important strategic choice for Djibouti to pool together Chinese companies represented by GCL. The “Ethiopia – Djibouti oil and gas project” is a concrete embodiment of the partnership jointly established by the presidents of China and Djibouti. The Djibouti side will continue to attach importance to project development, give priority to the operations related to the project in the development process of the country, provide preferential policy supports, create a splendid blueprint of development of the energy industry, and widen the road of development driven by industrialization.

After the meeting, Zhu, Guelleh, and FU Huaqiang, Chinese Ambassador to Djibouti witnessed the signing of the agreement of the liquefied natural gas development project.

During his visit to Ethiopia and Djibouti, Zhu engaged with relevant departments and strategic partners of the two countries. Also present at relevant activities were Melese Alemu, Ethiopian Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Yonis Ali Guedi, Energy Minister of Djibouti, TAN Jian, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, and FU Huaqiang, Chinese Ambassador to Djibouti, etc.


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