Chinese people in Ethiopia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Chinese people in Ethiopia
Total population
20,000-60,000 (2014-2016)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Addis Ababa
Related ethnic groups
Overseas Chinese

The number of Chinese residents in Ethiopia has risen considerably in the past decade.[2]

Integration and community[edit]

Figures provided by different sources from the Chinese embassy in Addis Ababa show a wide variance in population estimates. According to an article in the academic journal World Development, a Chinese diplomat in Ethiopia interviewed in December 2014 stated there were 20,000 Chinese while in contrast the Chinese ambassador in Addis Ababa stated there were 60,000 Chinese in a January 2016 public interview.[3][1] The community is largely involved in commerce with some working in telecom or railway construction and others owning businesses. The Chinese ambassador La Yifan credited the Chinese community with creating one million local jobs.[1]

Also in 2007, the first 300 volunteers selected from among 10,000 applicants to a new Chinese government programme arrived in Ethiopia, Seychelles, and Zimbabwe. They would perform a variety of work including teaching Chinese, introducing hospital staff to traditional Chinese medicine, and aiding in poultry farming.[4][5]

Like in many African countries, the Chinese are seen as keeping to themselves. In 2007, another New York Times report by Howard French on Chinese in Ethiopia noted the "clannish" social interaction of Chinese by citing a communal compound of 200 Chinese workers for Road and Bridge Construction (a Chinese construction company) who ate Chinese food, got health care from a Chinese doctor, and did not interact with outsiders.[2]

Abole raid[edit]

A landmark incident in Chinese perceptions of Ethiopia was the 2007 Abole oil field raid in which 74 workers including 9 from China were killed. The rebels in the attack claimed that the target was the Ethiopian military and the Chinese were killed in explosions during the fighting.[6] Howard French of The New York Times called the incident part of the learning curve for Chinese in understanding the risks of interaction in Africa but not a setback that would deter the Chinese from realizing that Africa would be "the stage where China's image as a global actor of the first rank will be forged."[7]


The Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia (埃塞俄比亚中国商会) was established in April 2008 in Addis Ababa.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "China empowers a million Ethiopians: ambassador". Africa News Agency. January 26, 2016.
  2. ^ a b French, Howard W.; Polgreen, Lydia (2007-08-18), "Entrepreneurs From China Flourish in Africa", The New York Times, retrieved 2011-10-08
  3. ^ Cook, Seth; Lu, Jixia; Tugendhat, Henry; Alemu, Dawit (May 2016). "Chinese Migrants in Africa: Facts and Fictions from the Agri-Food Sector in Ethiopia and Ghana". World Development. 81: 61–70. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.11.011.
  4. ^ Harmann, Danna (2007-06-27), "Young Chinese idealists vie to join their 'peace corps' in Africa", The Christian Science Monitor, retrieved 2011-10-08
  5. ^ "武汉青年在埃塞俄比亚:发短信找大树当天线 (Wuhan youth in Ethiopia: Sending out an SMS to look for a big tree for an antenna)", Xinhua News, 2007-10-30, retrieved 2011-10-08
  6. ^ Gettleman, Jeffrey (2007-04-25), "Ethiopian Rebels Kill 70 at Chinese-Run Oil Field", The New York Times, retrieved 2011-10-08
  7. ^ French, Howard W. (2007-05-02), "Letter from Ethiopia: China's risky venture into resource-rich Africa", The New York Times, retrieved 2011-10-08
  8. ^ "埃塞俄比亚中国商会成立 (Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia established)", Shanghai Jinrong Bao, 2008-04-09, archived from the original on 2012-04-25, retrieved 2011-10-08