Chinese investors ever-growing engagement across Ethiopia’s industrial parks is a manifestation of the undeniable and enduring economic and trade relations between the two countries, a high ranking Ethiopian official said on Monday.

“A large number of Chinese firms’ investment in various industrial parks in Ethiopia could be seen as an acknowledgment of the two nations’ strong and sustained bilateral relationship,” Temesgen Tilahun, deputy chief of the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Tuesday.

Noting China’s “strong business presence in Ethiopia” across various investment sectors mainly in the infrastructure development, manufacturing as well as the textile industry, the Deputy Commissioner affirmed that “it is not surprising that more Chinese investors are participating in several numbers Ethiopia’s industrial parks. Chinese investors are not coming here for short term benefit; instead, they start business aiming at a durable national objective.”

Tilahun further stressed the importance of utilizing the ever-expanding investment opportunity from Chinese investors so as to meet the East African country’s economic development aspirations.

In recent years, the Ethiopian government has attached great importance to cooperation with Chinese firms in various fields, including the construction of industrial parks along with giant Chinese companies investing in various industrial hubs, majority of which were built by Chinese experts and technologies.

The official also noted that considering contemporary Chinese global influence, the East African country could tap into the Chinese-proposed Belt and Road Initiate (BRI), as well as other initiatives for its own development.

Tilahun further stressed that Ethiopia — Africa’s second populous nation with an estimated 109 million total population, is yet to fully harness its potential to further attracting Chinese investment.

“My assumption is, Ethiopia is lagging from exploiting and using Chinese well-rounded development opportunities given our potential, resources, population and geographic location,” said Tilahun.