China committed to expanding co-op with Africa
Updated: 2012-01-28 15:36
BEIJING - China will steadfastly strengthen its cooperation with African countries, top Chinese political adviser Jia Qinglin said ahead of his visit to Ethiopia.
Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks in a written interview with the Ethiopian News Agency.
Over recent years, Africa has played an increasingly important role in international and regional affairs, said Jia, who left Beijing Friday morning to attend the opening ceremony of the 18th African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, and pay an official goodwill visit to Ethiopia.
He stressed that his attendance to the AU summit and his visit to Ethiopia this time is "to show to Africa and the international community at large that China firmly commits itself to enhancing solidarity and cooperation with African countries, firmly supports African efforts for strength through unity and the integration process, and that China firmly supports a greater African role in international and regional affairs."
And in conducting cooperation with Africa, China will "adhere to the principles of mutual benefit and common development, making sure that our assistance will be results-oriented and that we will not interfere in the internal affairs of the recipient countries," said Jia.
As for the ever-expanding Chinese investment in Africa, Jia said that investment cooperation is an important part of China-Africa economic cooperation.
The Chinese government has encouraged competitive and reputable Chinese companies to invest in Africa and has taken many measures to guide such efforts, such as providing concessional loans, establishing the China-Africa Development Fund and setting up economic and trade cooperation zones in African countries, he said.
"China's investment in Africa has grown rapidly in recent years. The stock of Chinese investment in Africa surged from 490 million U.S. dollars at the end of 2003 to 14.7 billion dollars in 2011, which covers mining, finance, manufacturing, construction, tourism, agriculture, forestry, animal farming, fishery and many other fields," Jia added.
He also said the number of Chinese companies that have made investment in Africa has surpassed 2,000.
"The China side stands ready to discuss with the African side on the areas, modalities and channels of expanded investment with a view to improving the quality of cooperation in the future," Jia said.
As for the status and role of the AU, Jia said that the organization has made significant contribution to Africa's peace, stability and development since its establishment 10 years ago, and it has already become the "most representative and most important inter-governmental organization in Africa."
Jia said China highly values its relations with the AU. "Thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides, China-AU relations have achieved comprehensive and rapid growth with bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields deepening continuously," he said.
Jia also said the current world economic situation remained tough and complicated, and that strengthening regional economic integration would benefit Africa in enforcing its ability to resist economic risk.
"We have noted that both the AU and the African countries at large hope to see China actively participating in the integration process of Africa" and "China holds a positive attitude toward this," he said, adding China is ready to step up exchanges and dialogue with the AU and sub-regional organizations to promote cooperation for enhanced connectivity in Africa.
Since the inception of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in October 2000, the Chinese government has implemented all its cooperation commitments made at the ministerial conferences and the Beijing Summit and the achievements were welcomed by Africa and the international community, he said.
Smooth progress has been made in debt cancellation, tariff exemption, provision of concessional loans and the scheme of special loans designed to help small and medium-sized African enterprises since the 4th ministerial conference of FOCAC, Jia said.
He said China would continue to cooperate with African countries to implement the follow-up actions of the 4th ministerial conference this year, which will witness the holding of the 5th ministerial conference.
The Chinese government will intensify consultation and coordination with African countries to make good preparations so as to ensure the next ministerial conference complete success and pave way for greater progress in the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership, he said.
As to China-Ethiopia relationship, Jia said, the two countries "have a long tradition of being friends to each other" and the comprehensive and cooperative partnership between them has made steady headway, adding both sides have supported each other on issues concerning their vital interests.
"China has taken an active part in Ethiopia's efforts of nation-building by becoming its largest trading partner and a main source of foreign investment," Jia said.
He also said that the two countries' cooperation in science, technology, culture, education and people-to-people exchanges has been expanding with fruitful results.
Jia said China is ready to work with Ethiopia to enrich bilateral cooperation and bring the two countries' comprehensive and cooperative partnership to higher levels.
"The Chinese government will step up support to Ethiopia, deepen bilateral cooperation in the political, economic, agricultural, technological, cultural, educational, health and other fields," he said, adding that the Chinese side will also use different channels to increase understanding and friendship between the two peoples.
"The Chinese side highly appreciates Ethiopia's outstanding contribution to China-Africa friendly cooperation," he said.
Right now, China-Africa relations are at an important stage of development and China is ready to work with Ethiopia and other African countries to promote China-Africa relations so as to bring greater benefits to the two peoples, Jia said.