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China makes strong case for Africa’s growth

China makes strong case for Africa’s growth

President of the Peoples Republic of China, His Excellency President Hu Jintao has stated that given the remarkable achievements that have been scored by African countries and people in promoting the continent’s peace and development, “the international community should continue to give high priority to enhancing peace and development in Africa and increase input in this area…” He spoke on Thursday, 19th July at the opening ceremony of the fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. His seven page speech was centered on the theme: “Open Up New Prospects for a New Type of China-Africa Strategic Partnership.”  (President Hu Jintao calls for Africa’s views to be heard (Photo credit  Global Times of China)

This year’s fifth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC is the first of such conference to be held in the second decade since its formation in 2000. It brought together dozens of African and Chinese dignitaries, including several African Heads of States and Ministers from several African countries. Sierra Leone is being represented by Ministers of Finance and Economic Development and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Kamara and Joseph Bandabla Dauda, respectively. They are accompanied by two senior officials, one from each ministry.

Delivering his speech at the opening ceremony at the China World Hotel in central Beijing, President Hu Jintao stated that  in recent years  African countries and people, with perseverance and vision  have made tremendous achievements in promoting development and as such there is the need for the international community to  not only give high priority to enhancing peace and development in Africa but to also  “respect Africa’s wish, listen to its views, address its concerns and help it meet the Millennium Development Goals at an early date.”

According to President Hu Jintao, notwithstanding the tremendous changes that have taken place in the world, he was curtained that peace, development and cooperation remain the trend of our times but on the other hand, “uncertainties and destabilizing factors in international development have notably increased. The impact of the international financial crisis is still with us. Regional and international hotspot issues keep emerging …” but in all of these, developing countries, he said, have maintained strong momentum of growth, but  was quick to acknowledged that “they are also confronted with many difficulties and challenges.” Speaking further, President Hu Jintao said, China is the world’s largest developing country, whilst Africa is the home to the largest number of developing nations in the world and as such “China and Africa, together with over one third of the world’s population, are an important force for advancing world peace and development.

Whilst assuring  delegates at the Ministerial Conference, President Hu Jintao expressed the determination and desire  of China to always support the African continent, stating that  “no matter  how the international  landscape may change, China will remain unchanged in its commitment to supporting Africa’s peace, stability, development and unity “ ,saying they  will continue to give  sincere  support to African countries’  independent choice of development paths and genuinely help  strengthen their  capacity for self development . “We will continue to stand firm with the African people and forever be a good friend, good partner and good bother of the African people”, he reaffirmed.

On this note, the Chinese President highlighted five points’ action plan for cooperation between China and Africa; that they will open up new prospects in building a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership. They include; opening  up new prospects for the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership, in terms of working towards strengthening the political mutual trust between  China and Africa; work towards expanding practical cooperation between   China and Africa , increasing cultural and people-to-people exchanges ,increasing coordination and cooperation in international affairs and working towards making FOCAC more stronger.  He assured also that in the next three years, the Chinese government will take measures in key priority areas to support the causes of peace and development in Africa and boost a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership.

With both current and long-term needs in mind, President Hu Jintao said, both Africa and China should work towards redoubling efforts to draw up “a blueprint for promoting our cooperation in the next stage and lay a solid foundation for making new and greater progress in growing China-Africa relations in the years ahead.” On practical economic cooperation featuring mutual benefit, the Chinese President explained that both China and Africa have joined hands to fight the international financial crisis and made steady progress in building a framework of all-round cooperation. China’s trade with and investment in Africa, he revealed, have been expanding and that in 2011 alone, “two-way trade reached 166.3 billion US dollars, three times the figure in 2006.” Cumulative Chinese direct investment in Africa, exceeded 15 billion US dollars, with investments projects covering 50 countries.

He ended by calling on delegates to join hands and work for a brighter future “for us all” so as to open up new prospects for a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership and jointly build a harmonious world of peace and common prosperity which he said, “is our shared goal and responsibility”

This year’s FOCAC Ministerial Conference is held on the ‘Building on past achievements and open up new prospects for the new type of China-Africa Strategic Partnership.’ The conference comes to an end on July 20th. The Beijing Declaration of the 5th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC and FOCAC-Beijing Action Plan (2013-2014.) will be adopted before the end of the conference.

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