|Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (C), Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and African Union (AU) Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma attend an exhibition featuring China's most advanced railway and aviation technologies at the AU Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 5, 2014. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)|
ADDIS ABABA, May 5 -- In a spacious exhibition hall at the headquarters of the African Union (AU), four models of Chinese-made trains- one high-speed train and three locomotives - and 10 aircraft models were on display Monday.
Accompanied by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who is on an Africa tour, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Chairperson of AU Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma attended an exhibition featuring China's most advanced railway and aviation technologies.
The leaders watched a video from a large LED panel about the development of China's railway and aviation industries before they were shown around and briefed by Chinese technicians on the specifics of those models.
It is not the first time that Li promotes China's technology to other countries during his overseas visits.
In Romania last November, Li invited leaders of 16 central and eastern European countries to a similar exhibition on China's railway technology and other infrastructure and manufacturing equipments.
In Thailand last October, he attended the opening ceremony of a Chinese high-speed railway exhibition with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
In his speech at the AU headquarters earlier in the day, Li said China is ready to expand cooperation with Africa in building road, rail, telecommunications, power grid and other infrastructure so as to help the continent realize regional interconnection.
He said that Beijing encourages Chinese enterprises to form joint ventures with African counterparts in a bid to improve Africa's regional aviation industry.
The premier depicted a dream that all African capitals are connected with high-speed rail so as to boost pan-African communication and development.
Noting that China has developed world-leading technologies in this area, Li said his country is ready to work with Africa in an unreserved manner to make this dream come true.
Guang Z. Chen, country director for Ethiopia of the World Bank, said Li's proposal is a very welcome move because Africa has an infrastructure deficit while China has both the financial resources and the construction capacity to help meet the demands.
Africa faces daunting challenges in improving its infrastructure, he said, adding that great efforts should be made in this regard so as to push Africa's regional integration, which is key to the continent's competitiveness.
He Wenping, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China's success story in poverty reduction is remarkable and massive investment in infrastructure was one of the key factors.
Based on their own experience, the Chinese see clearly the importance and necessity of improving infrastructure in Africa as well as the great business opportunities behind it, she said.
China has a long history of aid to Africa, including in sectors such as rail. In the 1970s, it helped build the Tanzania-Zambia railway, which, with a total length of 1,860 km, has become a major corridor connecting eastern, central and southern Africa.
As of the end of 2013, Chinese enterprises had signed project contracts worth nearly 400 billion U.S. dollars with African countries. They have built over 2,200 kilometers of railway and 3,500 kilometers of highway in the continent.
He Huawu, chief engineer of China Railway Corporation, said China's railway technologies and equipments are advanced and proven, safe and reliable, and at a relatively lower cost.
China possesses a complete system of research and development, construction, equipment manufacturing and operation, and the country's railway technologies and equipments have been exported to many countries and regions in the world, he said.
By the end of 2013, the total mileage of high-speed railway in China had reached 11,000 km, equal to the sum of the rest of the world.