Parliamentary speaker, Ethiopian PM discuss economic ties

ADDIS ABABA, July 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's National Assembly speaker met with Ethiopia's prime minister and discussed ways to expand economic ties between the two countries.

Kang Chang-hee, who is on a 13-day trip to Africa, paid a courtesy call to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in the country's capital Addis Ababa on Thursday.

The prime minister expressed his country's wish to learn from South Korea's economic development experience and called on South Korean businesses to invest in the African nation.

Kang said he would encourage firms to invest in Ethiopia.

"South Korean companies are at a stage where they are trying to decide where to go now that they have nowhere else to go after moving their factories from China to countries like Myanmar and Vietnam," Kang said in his meeting with the prime minister. "If Ethiopia's business environment improves, many South Korean firms will want to come here."

The speaker especially stressed the importance of building distribution infrastructure such as railroads, roads and harbors for Ethiopia's industrial development.

He asked for Ethiopia's favorable consideration of South Korean firms in such infrastructure projects.

The prime minister said his country plans to build an industrial complex for South Korean companies and support their participation in a road construction project in the Port of Djibouti.

He called on South Korean firms to stop moving to Southeast Asia and to start building plants in Ethiopia, saying his country will provide all the necessary support.

He also said South Korea's economic development sets an example for not only Ethiopia, but all of Africa, adding that his country has been analyzing the Asian nation's experience in detail so as to achieve similar economic growth.

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