Plzen, West Bohemia (CTK) – The Faculty of Arts of the Plzen university, University of West Bohemia, has opened an exhibition on Czech-Ethiopian 20th century relations at the Addis Ababa University, that consists of 26 panels highlighting the broad range of bilateral contacts, Jan Zahorik, from the Faculty, has told CTK.

The Faculty has prepared the exhibition in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry and the universities in Jimma and Addis Ababa.

“Its goal is to highlight our unique mutual relations, unparalleled with any other country of Central and Eastern Europe. It should also support the unrightfully omitted cultural diplomacy, which, for its part, may boost economic diplomacy,” Zahorik said.

The exhibition has been installed at the entrance to the ethnographic museum which is visited by thousands of tourists, local people as well as students.

Zahorik previously said he considers the exhibition important also because Addis Ababa is the seat of the African Union organisation.

Each of the exhibition’s 26 panels focuses on one culture- or industry-related issue.

In the past, the Czechs built breweries and waterworks in Ethiopia and exported weapons to the country.

“This is the first event of its kind, by which we also want to present the rich cooperation between the West Bohemian University [in Plzen] and the universities in Addis Ababa and Jimma, whose experts translated the exhibition texts into Amharic and Oromo, the two languages that are the most widespread in Ethiopia,” Zahorik said previously.

In January, the exhibition will be installed at the Jimma University and later elsewhere in Ethiopia, before its definitive installation in Plzen.

Zahorik said Ethiopia was Czechoslovakia ́s priority African partner in the periods of the empire and of the Czechoslovak communist regime in the 1970s and the 1980s.

However, since the birth of the independent Czech Republic, the Czech political leaders and companies have been uninterested in African projects, Zahorik said.

He admitted that the activity of Czech companies in Ethiopia has not faded out completely. The new Raya Brewery, which was opened in the country recently, was built by the Czech firm ZVU POTEZ.

“Nevertheless, the main activities rest in development cooperation. A number of Czech non-profit organisations operate in Ethiopia, such as People in Need, which has built 16 schools there, and also various charity groups,” Zahorik said.

He said Ethiopia lacks oil, but it has business potential, which the nations such as the Turks, Indians, Chinese and Saudis have noticed. There is still cheap workforce there, like in China 20 years ago, Zahorik said.

In addition, the Ethiopian government is interested in foreign investments and cooperation, he added.

Source: Prague Monitor
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