Distinguished Guests, Dear Friends,
The theme of the summit is “China and Africa Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development.”
The first key expression is progressing together. This spirit is rooted in the long-standing traditional friendship and mutual support between China and Africa. Early in the 15th century, China’s navigator Zheng He headed his fleet and arrived at the east coast of Africa for four times. That was a time when China was the strongest country in the world. What they brought to Africa were silk and porcelain, and friendship and goodwill. They did not grab an inch of land. Nor did they ever take back one single slave.
China and Africa have always been in a community of shared destiny. Our common cause and aspiration have bonded us closely together.
We will never forget that in the middle of the last century, the Chinese people, after winning national liberation, gave full support to African countries in their just struggle against colonialism for national independence and liberation. The two sides forged deep friendship. Premier Zhou Enlai spent two months for his visit to 10 African countries, to promote friendly ties and cooperation, leaving behind touching stories which continue to inspire people of the world.
We will never forget that the people of China, Tanzania and Zambia relied on their own strength, overcame multiple difficulties and built the world-renowned Tazara Railway in less than six years, a project that many people deemed a “mission impossible”. It played a big role helping our African brothers smash the blockade imposed by the apartheid regime and gain national independence and liberation in southern Africa. Sixty-five Chinese workers gave their lives for the construction of the railway and were laid to rest on the African continent, building a monument of China-Africa friendship. Such passion for Africa inspired generations of young people to devote themselves to the friendship and cooperation between China and Africa.
We will never forget that our African brothers, withstanding tremendous pressure, gave firm support to New China in restoring its lawful seat at the United Nations, which greatly enhanced the standing and weight of developing countries at the UN Security Council. The moment of African representatives rejoicing for celebration at the UN headquarters will always be cherished by the Chinese and African people.
We will never forget that, last year, when the Ebola epidemic wrecked havoc in West Africa and many international airlines suspended their flights there, planes chartered by China flew over half of the globe across three continents to deliver materials urgently needed by people in the epidemic-stricken areas. When some countries were evacuating their people, China was sending in top-level experts and medical workers to join the local communities in fighting against Ebola.
There is a popular Chinese song named “Holding Your Hands” going like this, “Because I traveled the path you have traveled and suffered the pain you have suffered, I share your joy and pursuit.” I think it can also be borrowed to describe the relations between China and Africa. Chinese and African people have suffered from similar scourge, and both have traveled a path fraught with hardship. That is why we are able to understand each other, share weal and woe and join hands in pursuing the same goal and dream.
The second key expression is win-win cooperation, a concept that injects strong impetus to the development of China-Africa relations. President Xi Jinping proposed in explicit terms the building of a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation. In the course towards this goal, African friends have always been the most important partners for China, and China-Africa cooperation has always been a good example of win-win development between developing countries. China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for six years straight. In 2014, trade between China and Africa topped 220 billion US dollars, 22 times higher than where it stood in 2000 when FOCAC was launched. It accounted for 20.5% of Africa’s total foreign trade, up from the original 3.82%. As we speak, China’s investment stock in Africa has exceeded 30 billion US dollars, 60 times that of the year 2000 and keeping an annual growth rate at above 20% in recent years. There are more than 3,000 Chinese enterprises operating in Africa. In 2014, more than 3.6 million mutual visits were made between China and Africa.
Cooperation between China and Africa is mutually beneficial. Instead of seeking unilateral gains, China is committed to promoting independent and sustainable development of Africa and helping Africa address problems of inadequate infrastructure and skilled personnel, two bottlenecks hindering development. China has made tremendous efforts toward this end. As of September 2015, there were a total of 5,675 kilometers of railway and 4,507 kilometers of road in Africa built or being built by China through aid or financing support. China has built more than 200 schools in Africa using aid or financing support. Every year, China provides more than 7,000 government scholarships to Africa and hosts more than 100 workshops and training sessions on technologies and management. Since the inception of FOCAC, China has trained more than 81,000 professionals in various fields for the African side.
China-Africa cooperation is all-round cooperation. While en helping Africa grow develop its economy, China also makes a point of fostering a peaceful and stable environment for sustained development in Africa. China has been the active participant, supporter and contributor of peace and security affairs in Africa. China firmly supports the local people in finding African solutions to African problems. China has sent more peacekeepers to Africa than any of the other four permanent members of the Security Council. China has taken part in 16 peacekeeping operations in Africa, and sent a total of nearly 30,000 peacekeepers. Since 2009, Chinese escort missions have never stopped in the Gulf of Aden and off the waters of Somalia. In September this year, President Xi Jinping announced at the UN Peacekeeping Summit that in the coming five years, China will provide a total of 100 million US dollars of free military aid to the AU to support the building of the African Standby Force and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis, with a view to playing a bigger and more constructive role in peace and security . We were saddened by the killing of three Chinese citizens in the terrorist attack in Mali a few days ago. They were engineers and technicians who had been there over the years to provide help for Africa’s development and promote China-Africa cooperation. Going forward, while advancing our pragmatic cooperation with Africa, China will also strengthen cooperation in fighting terrorism and extremism. Whatever the difficulties, the Chinese people will always stand by the African people, because we are good friends, good partners and good brothers.
China-Africa cooperation is built on an equal-footed and voluntary basis. China never attaches political conditions to its assistance to Africa, never asks for anything that is impossible or unacceptable. China never interferes in the internal affairs of African countries and never makes empty promises to its our African brothers. In our cooperation with Africa, China will never follow the same path traveled by traditional powers, nor do anything at the expense of the environment or long-term interests of Africa. No one knows better than the African people that any observation on China-Africa cooperation, made through colored glasses or out of ulterior motives, pales before a huge amount of so many facts and will never be acceptable to the Chinese and African people.
The third keyword expression is common development, a concept that opens up brighter prospects for China-Africa relations. To develop the economy and improve people’s lives are the common tasks facing China and Africa. China has come to the crucial stage for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and is striving for the realization of the Chinese dream of national renewal. At the end of October, the Communist Party of China held the fifth plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee. It reviewed and adopted the Proposal by the CPC Central Committee on the 13th Five Year Program on National Economic and Social Development, which put forward new objectives and ideas for China’s economic development in the next stage. We will establish and implement in real earnest the concept of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, maintain a growth rate of over 6.5%, double the GDP and per capita income for both urban and rural residents by 2020 on the basis of the 2010 figures, and endeavor to lift everyone in the country out of poverty. As China accelerates the shift of its development mode, and continues to promote a new type of industrialization, IT application, urbanization and agricultural modernization, the Chinese economy will unleash greater potential and its opening up will enter a new stage. In the coming five years, China is expected to import over 10 trillion US dollars worth of goods, invest over 500 billion US dollars overseas, and more than 500 million Chinese tourists will travel abroad. A medium-high growth rate of the Chinese economy towards a medium-high level means great opportunities for Africa and other parts of the world.
African countries are now joining hands in realizing the African Dream of greater strength and prosperity through unity as envisioned in the Agenda 2063. The Chinese Dream and the African Dream can very well synergize with each other. China enjoys relative advantages in development experience and production factors. This, combined with Africa’s relative advantages in natural and human resources and its huge market, will produce tremendous synergy that is bigger than simply adding up the two parts. China and Africa have the conditions, capacity and confidence to progress together in the grand cause of common development and build a brighter future of prosperity, strength, advanced culture and progress.