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Ambassador: It’s Not China’s Place to Lecture Africa

Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Tan Jian said Sunday that China does not lecture Africa on how it should develop, but believes that African nations could find suitable paths on their own.

“China is very confident about its own development model, but we are not trying to sell it abroad,” Tan told Xinhua. “However, if our foreign friends are interested, we are willing to share our experience.”

The diplomat said it is not surprising that some African countries hope to draw inspiration from China’s success in transforming itself from an economic weakling to the world’s second largest economy.

By delving into China’s case, African countries may find China’s promotion of investment, industrialization and infrastructure construction inspiring to their own development, he said.

However, Tan said there is no one-size-fits-all development model, and that “it’s our hope that every country can find the development path that suits its own conditions.”

“China’s economic miracles are not achieved by just following others’ advice,” he added.

Guided by this thinking, Tan said, China maintains an equality-based dialogue with African nations. “We will not try to be teachers. We’re having an equal dialogue in which we offer our views to those who are interested.”

The ambassador made the remarks when reviewing China’s cooperation with Ethiopia and other African nations. He said prospects are bright for China-Ethiopia collaboration in various fields.

Chinese firms and funds have supported a number of Ethiopian development projects including the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, the Gibe III hydro power plant and the construction of Ethiopia’s industrial parks, said to be inspired by China’s success in the same field.

China’s top legislator Li Zhanshu paid an official visit to Ethiopia from Wednesday to Saturday. Tan said Li’s visit after Abiy Ahmed took over as Ethiopia’s new prime minister demonstrated China’s strong support to the Horn of African nation.

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