“Open a New Era of China-Africa Win-Win Cooperation and Common Development”

Address by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China at the Opening Ceremony of the Johannesburg Summit of The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

Your Excellency President Zuma,

Your Excellency President Mugabe, Rotating Chairperson of the African Union,

Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,

Your Excellency Dr. Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,

Dear Colleagues,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to meet so many African brothers and sisters, who are both old and new friends of mine, in the beautiful Rainbow Nation of South Africa. As co-chair of the Summit, I wish to express my warm welcome to you for attending the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). I also wish to express my sincere appreciation to South Africa, host of the Summit, for the meticulous preparations and thoughtful arrangements it has made for this meeting.

This is my seventh visit to the African continent and also my second visit to Africa after taking office as the Chinese President. Every time I visit Africa, I see new progress and new changes on this continent.

Today’s Africa is a continent of encouraging and dynamic development. Africa has actively explored a path of development suited to its conditions and adhered to the principle of solving African issues in the African way. Such a momentum of independent development is unstoppable. Africa has actively advanced industrialization and pursued sustainable self-development. Such a momentum of rapid growth is unstoppable. Africa has accelerated its integration process and speaks in one voice on the international stage. Such a momentum of pursuing strength through unity is unstoppable.

The late President Nelson Mandela of South Africa once said, “We stand at the dawn of an African century, a century where Africa will take its rightful place among the nations of the world.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement, and I am convinced that African countries and people are embracing a new era that is truly theirs.

We in China, both the government and people, heartily rejoice over and are proud of Africa’s achievements. We sincerely wish African countries and people greater achievements and an even brighter future in pursuing development and progress.

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China and Africa share a common future. We Chinese and Africans have forged profound friendship through our common historical experience and in our common struggles.

We have always supported each other in trying times. The Tazara Railway and the Convention Center of the African Union built with Chinese assistance are landmarks of China-Africa friendship. The Chinese government and people took the lead in helping Africa fight Ebola and led the international community in its efforts to assist Africa to combat the epidemic, demonstrating the bond of brotherhood between China and Africa in time of difficulty. On our part, we deeply appreciate the African countries’ selfless support to China’s return to the United Nations and their donations made to China when China’s Wenchuan and Yushu areas were hit by massive earthquakes.

What has made China-Africa friendship durable and vigorous is that our two sides have always been guided by the principle of treating each other as equals, promoting win-win progress and common development and enhancing sincere friendship and cooperation. China and Africa will forever remain good friends, good partners and good brothers.

China and Africa both shoulder the mission of developing our respective countries and improving the livelihood of our peoples. Africa enjoys abundant natural and human resources and has reached the stage of taking off in industrialization. China, after reform and opening-up of over 30 years, now has the technology, equipment, professional and skilled personnel and capital needed to help Africa realize sustainable self-development. In particular, China has the strong political commitment to supporting Africa in achieving development and prosperity. China and Africa share mutual needs and complementarities and face a rare historic opportunity in pursuing development through cooperation.

In the new era, we should carry forward the traditional China-Africa friendship and translate the strengths of our traditional friendship into driving forces to boost solidarity, cooperation and development, so that we will deliver more tangible benefits to our peoples and make greater contribution to the development of the world in a more balanced, just and inclusive manner and to the building of a new model of international partnership based on win-win cooperation.

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world is undergoing profound changes. Economic globalization and IT application have tremendously unleashed and advanced social productive forces. We are facing unprecedented opportunities of development. On the other hand, hegemony, terrorism, financial turbulence and environmental crisis have become more pronounced, posing unprecedented challenges to us.

In conducting China’s relations with Africa, we adhere to the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith and uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests, and we will work with our African friends to embrace a new era of win-win cooperation and common development. With this in mind, I propose that the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership be upgraded to a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. To forge this partnership, we should strengthen the following “five major pillars”.

First, we should remain committed to political equality and mutual trust. A high degree of political mutual trust is the foundation of China-Africa friendship. We should respect each other’s choice of development path and not impose one’s own will on the other. On issues involving core interests and major concerns of each side, we should show mutual understanding, support each other and jointly uphold equity and justice. China strongly believes that Africa belongs to the African people and that African affairs should be decided by the African people.

Second, we should remain committed to promoting win-win economic cooperation. We Chinese value both friendship and justice as well as shared interests and place more importance on the former. Friendship and justice, which defines China-Africa relations, require us to facilitate Africa’s development endeavour with China’s development and ultimately deliver win-win progress and common development through mutually beneficial cooperation. We should fully leverage the strengths of political mutual trust and economic complementarities between China and Africa, and focus on industrial capacity cooperation as well as the three networks and industrialization. By doing so, we can deepen China-Africa cooperation in all areas and bring its benefits to our peoples.

Third, we should remain committed to mutually enriching cultural exchanges. Diversity makes the world beautiful. We are proud that both China and Africa have time-honored and splendid civilizations. We should strengthen cultural exchanges and mutual learning between China and Africa, facilitate more exchanges between the youths, women, think tanks, media, universities and other sectors of the two sides, promote cultural interactions, policy coordination and people-to-people exchanges to advance common progress and ensure the sustained growth of China-Africa friendship from generation to generation.

Fourth, we should remain committed to mutual assistance in security. Poverty is the root cause of chaos while peace is the guarantee for development. Development holds the key to solving all problems. China supports the settlement of African issues by Africans in the African way. We are of the view that in resolving security issues, both the symptoms and the root causes must be addressed in a holistic way. China stands ready to take an active part in Africa’s efforts in capacity-building for maintaining and strengthening peace and security and support Africa in its endeavors to speed up development, eradicate poverty and realize durable peace.

Fifth, we should remain committed to solidarity and coordination in international affairs. China and Africa share common position on and interests in a wide range of international issues. We should strengthen consultation and coordination so as to make the global governance system more just and equitable and uphold our common interests. China will continue to stand up and speak for Africa at the United Nations and other fora to support Africa in playing a greater role on the world stage.

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To build China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership, China will implement ten cooperation plans with Africa in the next three years. Guided by the principle of government guidance, businesses being the major actors, market operation and win-win cooperation, these plans aim at addressing three bottleneck issues holding back Africa’s development, namely, inadequate infrastructure, lack of professional and skilled personnel, and funding shortage, accelerating Africa’s industrialization and agricultural modernization, and achieving sustainable self-development.

First, we will implement China-Africa industrialization plan. China will actively promote industry partnering and production capacity cooperation between China and Africa and encourage more Chinese enterprises to make business investment in Africa. China will build or upgrade a number of industrial parks in cooperation with Africa, send senior government experts and advisers to Africa and set up regional vocational education centers and schools for capacity building. China will also train 200,000 technical personnel and provide 40,000 training opportunities for African personnel in China.

Second, we will implement China-Africa agricultural modernization plan. China will share its experience in agricultural development with Africa and transfer readily applicable technologies to it. We encourage Chinese enterprises to engage in large-scale farming, animal husbandry, and grain storage and processing in Africa to create more local jobs and increase farmers’ income. China will carry out agricultural development projects in 100 African villages to raise rural living standards, send 30 teams of agricultural experts to Africa, and establish a “10+10” cooperation mechanism between Chinese and African agricultural research institutes. China is greatly concerned about the poor harvest caused by El Nino in many African countries and will provide RMB one billion of emergency food aid to the affected countries.

Third, we will implement China-Africa infrastructure plan. China will step up mutually beneficial cooperation with Africa in infrastructure planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance. We support Chinese enterprises’ active participation in Africa’s infrastructural development, particularly in sectors such as railways, roads, regional aviation, ports, electricity and telecommunications, to enhance Africa’s capacity for sustainable development. We will also support African countries in establishing five transportation universities.

Fourth, we will implement China-Africa financial plan. China will expand its RMB settlement and currency swap operations with African countries, encourage Chinese financial institutions to set up more branches in Africa, and increase its investment and financing cooperation with Africa in multiple ways to provide financial support and services for Africa’s industrialization and modernization drive.

Fifth, we will implement China-Africa green development plan. China will support Africa in bolstering its capacity for green, low-carbon and sustainable development and support Africa in launching 100 projects to develop clean energy, protect wildlife, promote environment-friendly agriculture and build smart cities. China-Africa cooperation will never be pursued at the expense of Africa’s eco-system and long-term interests.

Sixth, we will implement China-Africa trade and investment facilitation plan. China will carry out 50 aid-for-trade programs to improve Africa’s capacity, both “software” and “hardware”, for conducting internal and external trade and investment. China is ready to negotiate with countries and regional organizations in Africa comprehensive free trade agreements covering trade in goods and services and investment cooperation and it will increase import of African products. China will support African countries in enhancing law enforcement capacity in areas such as customs, quality inspection and taxation. We will also engage in cooperation with Africa in standardization, certification and accreditation and e-commerce.

Seventh, we will implement China-Africa poverty reduction plan. While intensifying its own poverty reduction efforts, China will increase its aid to Africa. We will carry out in Africa 200 “Happy Life” projects and poverty reduction programs focusing on women and children. We will cancel outstanding debts in the form of bilateral governmental zero-interest loans borrowed by the relevant least developed African countries that mature at the end of 2015.

Eighth, we will implement China-Africa public health plan. China will help Africa strengthen its public health prevention and control system as well as its capacity building by participating in the building of the African Center for Disease Control. We will support pacesetting cooperation between 20 Chinese hospitals and 20 African hospitals, and upgrade hospital departments. We will continue to send medical teams to Africa and provide medical assistance such as the “Brightness Action” program for cataract patients and maternal and child care. We will provide more anti-malaria compound artemisinin to Africa, and encourage and support local drug production by Chinese enterprises in Africa to increase Africans’ access to medicine.

Ninth, we will implement China-Africa cultural and people-to-people plan. China will build five cultural centers in Africa and provide satellite TV reception to 10,000 African villages. We will provide to Africa 2,000 educational opportunities with diplomas or degrees and 30,000 government scholarships. Every year, we will sponsor visits by 200 African scholars and study trips by 500 young Africans to China, and train 1,000 media professionals from Africa. We support the opening of more direct flights between China and Africa to boost our tourism cooperation.

Tenth, we will implement China-Africa peace and security plan. China will provide US$60 million of grant to support the building and operation of the African Standby Force and the African Capacity for the Immediate Response to Crisis. China will continue to participate in UN peacekeeping missions in Africa and support African countries’ capacity building in areas such as defense, counter-terrorism, riot prevention, customs and immigration control.

To ensure the successful implementation of these ten cooperation plans, China decides to provide a total of US$60 billion of funding support. It includes US$5 billion of grant and zero-interest loans; US$35 billion of loans of concessional nature on more favorable terms and export credit line; an increase of US$5 billion to the China-Africa Development Fund and the Special Loan for the Development of African SMEs respectively; and the China-Africa Fund for Production Capacity Cooperation with an initial contribution of US$10 billion.

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year marks the 15th anniversary of FOCAC. The past 15 years have seen fruitful progress in China-Africa practical cooperation across the board. Two-way trade and China’s total non-financial investment in Africa in 2014 were 22 times and 60 times that of 2000 respectively, which shows China’s contribution to Africa’s economic development has risen significantly. FOCAC has become a pacesetter in China-Africa cooperation, an example in South-South cooperation, and a champion for greater international attention to and input in Africa.

China-Africa relations have today reached a stage of growth unmatched in history. We should scale the heights, look afar and take bold steps. Let us join hands, pool the vision and strength of the 2.4 billion Chinese and Africans and open a new era of China-Africa win-win cooperation and common development.

Thank you!

Xi Jinping

NOTE: an interesting comment to H.E. PresidentXi Jinping’s speech  is here

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