Wen's speech at 4th Ministerial Conference of Forum on China-Africa Co-op (full text)
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Sunday delivered a speech entitled "Building the New Type of China-Africa Strategic Partnership" at the opening ceremony of the 4th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The following is the full text of the speech.
Building the New Type of China-Africa Strategic Partnership
Speech by Wen Jiabao
Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
At the Opening Ceremony of the 4th Ministerial Conference of
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
Your Excellency President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak,
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellency Mr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the AU Commission,
Your Excellencies Heads of Delegation, Ministers and Ambassadors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to join you in the beautiful coastal city of Sharm El Sheikh on the occasion of the 4th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). This conference gives us the opportunity to renew friendship and explore ways to further cooperation. As the Premier of the co-chair country of the conference, I would like to extend, on behalf of the Chinese government, a warm welcome to all the participants and express sincere thanks to the government of Egypt for the thoughtful preparations and arrangements it has made for the conference.
Since its founding nine years ago, FOCAC has played a major role in guiding and promoting the development of China-Africa relations and become a bridge of friendship and a platform of cooperation between China and Africa. In the three years since the Beijing Summit in particular, the two sides have worked together to build the new type of strategic partnership featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges. Together, we have opened a new chapter in China-Africa cooperation.
-- We have enhanced political mutual trust. The two sides have had more frequent high-level exchanges and stepped up diplomatic consultations and strategic dialogue. African countries have given even stronger support to China on issues concerning China's core interests. China and Africa have cooperated and coordinated with each other on major international and regional issues and jointly safeguarded and expanded the common interests of developing countries.
-- We have strengthened economic cooperation and trade. Last year, China-Africa trade exceeded $100 billion and the number of African countries trading with China grew to 53. China has begun construction of the six economic and trade cooperation zones in Africa. Nearly 1,600 Chinese enterprises have started business in African countries with a direct investment stock of $7.8 billion. Project contracting and labor services cooperation between the two sides have been expanding, and financial cooperation is gaining momentum.
-- The increase in China's assistance to Africa has produced practical results. Despite the impact of the international financial crisis and the many difficulties we face at home, we have honored the commitments we made at the Beijing Summit in an all-round way. Our assistance to Africa has been doubled. The plan to cancel 168 debts owed by 33 African countries is near completion. The $5 billion of concessional loans will be fully in place soon. The China-Africa Development Fund, whose first tranche reached $1 billion, has become operational as scheduled. These measures have not only added to Africa's capacity for self-development but also helped African countries in their effort to counter the financial crisis.
-- We have witnessed vigorous people-to-people exchanges. Exchanges and cooperation between China and Africa in culture, education, health and human resources training have grown rapidly. By the end of this year, China will train a total of 15,000 people of different professions for African countries. Interactions among the youth, women and sister provinces and cities have been more frequent. All these developments have led to deeper mutual understanding and stronger traditional friendship between China and Africa.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The rapidly growing relations and cooperation between China and Africa have attracted the world's attention in recent years. I would like to point out that it was not just a few years ago that China suddenly started its presence in Africa or Africa started its support for China. As early as in the 1950s and '60s, China and Africa fought shoulder to shoulder in the historic struggle against imperialism, colonialism and hegemony and worked side by side in the hard endeavor to revive our respective national economies. The Tanzania-Zambia Railway, the Chinese medical teams and the young Chinese volunteers in Africa are vivid examples of China's selfless assistance to this continent, while Africa's tremendous effort in helping restore China's seat in the United Nations, the successful Beijing Olympic torch relay in Africa and Africa's generous donations to the victims of the Wenchuan earthquake in China give full expression to the friendship of the African people toward the Chinese people. The Chinese government and people respect the right of African countries to independently choose their social systems and support the African people in exploring development paths that suit their national conditions. We firmly believe that Africa is fully capable of solving its own problems in an African way. The economic cooperation and trade between China and Africa are based on mutual benefit, win-win progress, openness and transparency. China has never attached any political strings to its support and assistance to Africa, and nor will it do so in the future. China welcomes the active involvement of other countries and international organizations in Africa's development so that we can jointly promote peace, development and progress in Africa.
China-Africa relations have withstood the test of international vicissitudes and maintained the momentum of robust growth. Our relationship is based on mutual support, particularly during times of adversity. It is guided by the core principle of mutual respect and equality. It is driven by our joint endeavor to pursue mutually-beneficial cooperation and common development. The world today is undergoing unprecedented changes and adjustments. We are all developing countries and face both rare historic opportunities for faster development and complex global challenges. We should enhance mutually beneficial cooperation. Cooperation between us will enable us to bring out our respective strengths and achieve common development. Cooperation between us will encourage the international community to pay greater attention to Africa and help it attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at an early date. Cooperation between us will catalyze South-South cooperation and enhance the collective standing of developing countries in the international political and economic architecture. Cooperation between us will promote democracy in international relations and justice in the international order and contribute to the effort of building a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Like other parts of the world, Africa is faced with various global challenges, including the financial crisis and climate change. Your task of meeting the MDGs has been made more difficult by the financial market volatility, sharp economic slowdown, drastic decline in foreign capital and the turmoil in some countries and regions in Africa. And your effort to achieve sustainable development has been seriously threatened by the frequent floods and droughts, the spread of desertification, extinction of some species, drop in food production and environmental degradation caused by climate change.
Africa is home to one seventh of the world's population and has more developing countries than any other continent. Africa' s development is indispensable to development of the world economy. As a true and tested friend, China fully understands the difficulties and challenges facing Africa. We call upon the international community to have a greater sense of urgency and take more concrete steps to support Africa's development. First, the international community should not waver in its resolve or weaken its effort to help Africa meet the MDGs. It should take credible steps to honor the commitment of assistance to Africa and actively foster an enabling external environment of international economy, trade and finance. Second, the international community should have a keen appreciation of African countries' pressing need for stronger capacity in adapting to climate change, understand and support their legitimate concerns and demands, and help them better meet the climate challenge in the larger context of enhancing Africa' s ability for achieving sustainable development. Such a holistic approach will help Africa realize all-round and balanced development. Third, the international community should show more understanding of the special difficulties facing Africa in addressing such global issues as food security, energy security and epidemic diseases, and render them greater support and assistance.