Addis Ababa: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Ethiopia today for the start of a four nation Africa tour, his first visit to the continent since assuming his position a little over a year ago.
Li is scheduled to also visit Nigeria, Angola and Kenya during the week-long trip, and give a keynote speech tomorrow at the Chinese-built headquarters of the African Union in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
The trip follows one Chinese President Xi Jinping made to the continent last year, shortly after taking office, a journey that underscored resource-rich Africa`s importance to the world`s second-largest economy.
"Ethiopia is the first stop because there is a deep friendship between our two countries and Ethiopia is a major country in Africa and the seed of African union," Li said in a news conference after his arrival and talks with Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn.
"The relationship between China and Ethiopia is not only a relationship for one year or two years. China and Africa have destinies that are closely linked," he added.
Officials said the two premiers signed a number of legal accords covering diplomatic visa exemptions, cultural corporation and extradition, plus agreements on economic, trade and technical cooperation.
China`s economic growth has been partially fuelled by African natural resources, including oil.
"China and Ethiopia have agreed on enhancing Ethiopia`s industrialisation and on supporting Ethiopia`s great vision to become Africa manufacturing house," Dessalegn said, hailing "many decades of strong economic and diplomatic relations".