Nothing could be further from the truth

Updated: 2014-08-15 07:32

By Chen Weihua(China Daily)

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Nothing could be further from the truthI laughed it off when news came last week that US President Barack Obama had made pointed remarks about China's activities in Africa and played up the United States' role on the continent.

Obama said "we don't look to Africa simply for its natural resources, we recognize Africa for its greatest resource, which is its people and its talents and their potential". But he also admitted that the US trade with the continent is only equal to its trade with Brazil and "we still do the vast majority of our trade with just three countries - South Africa, Nigeria and Angola. It's still heavily weighted towards the energy sector".

I laughed off Obama's words because as a Washington correspondent, I know just how good US politicians are in distracting attention from the real issues. And if you've traveled in Ethiopia as I did in the past more than a week, China's positive presence in Africa, fueled by China's optimism of the continent's future, is more than obvious.

Walking on the streets in Addis Ababa, people greeted me with "China" or "nihao", which is hello in Chinese.

At a major traffic intersection near the Africa Hall, a huge Ethiopian Airlines billboard promotes its daily direct flight from Addis Ababa to "the modern heart of China" Shanghai.

In bustling Meskel Square, another giant billboard, this time advertizing Huawei, a Chinese telecom giant, states its mission is "paving the way to the future" and "growing together and sharing the future". Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese telecom company, have been endorsed by the Ethiopian government to build a mobile telecommunications network in the country.

Passing Meskel Square is Ethiopia's first light railway, which is being constructed by a Chinese company. Chinese companies are also building railways from Addis Ababa to a port in the Republic of Djibouti, where 70 percent of the port trade come from landlocked Ethiopia. A lack of such infrastructure has been a major obstacle for Ethiopia to attract foreign direct investment and develop its economy.

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