Be Trustworthy Friends and Sincere Partners Forever*
March 25, 2013
Your Excellency President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Habari1! Habari! It both gives me great pleasure and fills me with warmth to meet so many friends here at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Center.
This is my first visit to Africa as the Chinese president but my sixth visit to the African continent. The moment I set foot on this beautiful land, I was overwhelmed by the friendship of the Tanzanian people towards the Chinese people. The government and people of Tanzania held a special and grand welcoming ceremony for me. It shows not only the importance you accord to me and my delegation, but also the profound traditional friendship between the two countries and two peoples.
Let me begin by extending, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and in my own name, warm greetings and best wishes to all the friends present today and to the brotherly people of Tanzania and across Africa. I also wish to thank you, President Kikwete, and the Tanzanian government for your warm hospitality.
Tanzania is a cradle of mankind. The Tanzanian people have a glorious tradition, and you have made a substantial contribution to the victory of the African people's struggles for independence and their fights against apartheid.
Under the leadership of President Kikwete, Tanzania has maintained political stability, made big strides in development, and played an important role in African and international affairs. The Chinese people rejoice at what you have achieved and sincerely wish the brotherly people of Tanzania new and still greater success.
When I visit Africa, I am always struck by two things. One is its continuous progress. Each time I come to Africa, I am deeply impressed by new progress in development, which is most encouraging. The other is the warmth of the African people. The goodwill of the African people towards the Chinese people is as warm and unforgettable as the sunshine in Africa.
As an African saying goes, "A river runs deep because of its source." The friendly exchanges between China and Africa date back a long time. In the 1950s and 60s, the first-generation leaders of the PRC – Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai2 and others – and African statesmen of the older generation ushered China-Africa relations into a new era. Since then, the Chinese and African peoples have supported and cooperated with each other in our respective endeavors to fight against colonialism and imperialism and win independence and liberation, and in the pursuit of development and national renewal. A fraternal bond of shared future has been forged between us.
Today, thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides, China-Africa relations are on a fast track of all-round development. We have set up the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation3 and established a new type of strategic partnership. Our cooperation in various fields has delivered many gains. In 2012, China-Africa trade approached US$200 billion-worth. Over 1.5 million mutual visits were made between the two sides. China's cumulative direct investment in Africa topped US$15 billion. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the dispatch of Chinese medical teams to Africa. In the past five decades, 18,000 Chinese medical personnel have worked in Africa, providing medical care and treatment to 250 million local patients.
The African people, on their part, have given full support and selfless help to the Chinese people. When the 2008 Beijing Olympic torch relay came to Dar es Salaam, the Tanzanian people welcomed the Olympic flame with song and dance, as if celebrating their own festival. This jubilant occasion is etched in the memory of the Chinese people.
In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Wenchuan, African countries rushed to China's assistance. An African country, with a population of fewer than two million and not well-off itself, made a generous donation of two million Euros to the quake area – about one Euro per person! This outpouring of compassion warmed our hearts.
In regional and international affairs, China and Africa have stepped up coordination and collaboration, and successfully upheld the common interests of developing countries. Friendship and cooperation between the Chinese and African peoples have become a symbol of China-Africa relations and are well regarded by the international community.
Our joint endeavors and the fruitful results therefrom over the past five decades have laid a solid groundwork and provided valuable experience for furthering China-Africa relations.
– A review of this period of history shows that China-Africa relations have not grown to this stage overnight, nor are they a gift from some third party. Rather, they have been nurtured and built, step by step, by our two sides over the years as we met challenges and faced difficulties together. As a Chinese saying goes, "When we drink water from the well, we should not forget those who dug it." We will always honor the memory of all those pioneers who devoted themselves to building China-Africa relations. As we move ahead, we can always draw strength from history.
– A review of this period of history shows that China and Africa have always shared a common destiny. Similar historical experience, common development tasks and shared strategic interests have bound us together. We both view the other's development as our own opportunity, and we both seek to promote mutual development and prosperity through closer cooperation.
– A review of this period of history shows that the defining features of China-Africa relations are sincerity, friendship, mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development. We get along well and treat each other as equals. Neither side seeks to impose its will on the other. China has done its best to help Africa's development. Yet China is always grateful to African countries and peoples for their firm support and selfless help over the years. On issues involving the core interests of either side, we have taken a clear position and given unequivocal support to each other.
– And a review of this period of history shows that if we are to maintain the strong vitality of China-Africa relations, we must keep pace with the times and forge ahead in an innovative and enterprising spirit. Over the past 50 years, at every crucial juncture of China-Africa relations, both sides were able to approach these relations with vision, identify new converging interests and growth areas for cooperation, and bring bilateral relations to new heights. Such an enterprising spirit of "cutting a way through when confronted by mountains and building a bridge when blocked by a river" is crucial for steadily upgrading China-Africa cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
China-Africa relations, enjoying a favorable international and domestic environment as well as popular support, stand at a new historical starting point. Africa, a continent of hope and promise, has become one of the fastest-growing regions in the world and is forging ahead like a galloping African lion. China, on its part, continues to enjoy a sound development momentum. The foundation of China-Africa cooperation is more solid, and our cooperation mechanisms have been further improved. Advancing China-Africa cooperation represents the trend of the times and the will of our peoples.
This is what I want to tell you, my dear friends: In this new era, China-Africa relations have become more important with increasing common interests, instead of less important with fewer common interests. China will intensify, not weaken, its efforts to develop relations with Africa.
First, we will continue to treat our African friends with sincerity. Nothing is more valuable than true friends. The China-Africa traditional friendship is what we cherish dearly. Unity and cooperation with African countries have always been an important foundation of China's foreign policy. This will never change, even should China grow stronger and enjoy a higher international standing. China believes in equality among all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor. China upholds justice and opposes the practice of the big bullying the small, the strong lording over the weak, and the rich oppressing the poor, just as it opposes interference in others' internal affairs. China and Africa will continue to support each other on issues involving their core interests and major concerns. China will continue to firmly support Africa's just position on regional and international affairs, and uphold the common interests of developing countries. China will continue to firmly support Africa in its endeavors to independently resolve African issues, and make a greater contribution to peace and security in Africa.
There is no one-size-fits-all development model in the world. The diversity of civilizations and development models should be respected by all. China will continue to firmly support African countries in their quest for development paths that suit their national conditions and increase exchanges of experience in governance with African countries. This will enable us to draw on each other's time-honored civilizations and development practices, and better promote the common development and prosperity of China and Africa.
To all Chinese, "harmony in the family leads to success in everything." Africa is a big family of shared destiny. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity – a milestone in the African people's pursuit of greater strength through unity. We sincerely hope that Africa will make bigger strides in seeking strength from unity and achieve new success in peace and development, and we will firmly support Africa in this endeavor.
China is dedicated to developing strong ties with Africa. We also hope to see better relations between other countries and Africa. Africa belongs to the African people. In promoting relations with Africa, all countries should respect Africa's dignity and independence.
Second, we seek to deliver real outcomes in conducting cooperation with Africa. China both champions and applies mutually beneficial cooperation with Africa. China views its own development as closely connected with that of Africa and the interests of the Chinese people as closely connected with those of the African people. China shares development opportunities with Africa. China sincerely hopes to see faster development in Africa and a better life for the African people. While pursuing its own development, China has provided support and assistance to African friends to the best of our ability. In recent years, in particular, China has increased assistance to and cooperation with Africa. We will honor every commitment we have made to Africa in both letter and spirit.
China will continue to expand investment and financing cooperation with Africa, follow through on the commitment of providing a US$20 billion credit line to Africa from 2013 to 2015, implement the partnership on transnational and trans-regional infrastructural development, enhance mutually beneficial cooperation in agriculture and manufacturing, and help Africa exploit its wealth of resources, and achieve independent and sustainable development.
As the saying goes, "It is more helpful to teach people how to fish than to just give them fish." China will actively implement the "African Talent Program," train 30,000 African professionals in various areas, provide 18,000 government scholarships to Africa between 2013 and 2015, and increase technology transfer and experience sharing with Africa.
As its own economy and strength increase, China will continue to provide due assistance to Africa with no political strings attached.
Third, we will continue to build a close bond of friendship with Africa. The Chinese and African peoples share a natural feeling of affinity towards each other. We Chinese believe that "the pleasure of life lies in having bosom friends." Then how can China and Africa become bosom friends? I believe that in-depth dialogue and concrete action are the way to strike a chord in our hearts.
Our two peoples form the foundation and lifeline of China-Africa relations. Therefore, the growth of our relations should be more people-oriented. In recent years, growing China-Africa relations have brought our peoples closer to each other than ever before. Some African performers have become popular stars in China. Great Life of a Wife, a Chinese TV series about how life unfolds in ordinary Chinese families, has become quite a hit in Tanzania.
Let me tell you a story about a young Chinese couple. When they were children, they got to know about Africa from Chinese TV programs and have since been captivated by this continent. Later, they got married and decided to make Tanzania their honeymoon destination. So, on their first Valentine's Day after the wedding, they came here on a visit. They were overwhelmed by the hospitality and friendship of the local people and the magnificent savanna of Serengeti. After the couple returned to China, they posted what they had experienced in Tanzania on their blog, which was visited tens of thousands of times and received several hundred comments. This is what they wrote on their blog, "We have fallen head over heels in love with Africa, and our hearts will forever be with this fascinating land." This story highlights the natural affinity between the Chinese and African peoples. As long as we keep expanding people-to-people exchanges, friendship between our peoples will strike deep roots and flourish.
We will further boost people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Africa so as to enhance mutual understanding and perception, and increase public support for China-Africa friendship. To promote China-Africa relations is a cause for the future, an undertaking that calls for unremitting efforts of young people in China and Africa from generation to generation. Both sides should vigorously promote youth exchanges so that China-Africa friendship will be full of vigor and vitality.
Fourth, we will resolve problems that may occur in our cooperation with good faith. China and Africa are both experiencing rapid development and each needs to learn more about the other. China will deal with new developments and new problems confronting our relations with sincerity. We should handle such problems in a spirit of mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation.
I am convinced that there will always be more opportunities than challenges and more solutions than difficulties. Together with the African countries, China has taken and will continue to take concrete measures to resolve problems in our economic cooperation and trade, and we will make sure that Africa gains more from its cooperation with China. At the same time, we sincerely hope that African countries will help Chinese enterprises and businessmen in pursuing cooperation in Africa.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Since the founding of the PRC more than 60 years ago, and particularly since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policy more than 30 years ago, the CPC has led the Chinese people in opening a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. China has made historic progress in its development, becoming the second largest economy in the world. China's comprehensive national strength has grown significantly, and our people's living standards have improved markedly. It only took China, a country of over 1.3 billion people, a few decades to travel a journey that took developed countries several centuries to cover. One can easily imagine how many challenges and difficulties China encountered in these years.
At present, China remains a populous country with a weak economic foundation and uneven development. Our aggregate GDP is quite large. However, when divided by 1.3 billion, China's per capita GDP is only around the 90th place in the world. Some 128 million Chinese are still living below the poverty line set by the United Nations. To provide a decent life for the over 1.3 billion people, we still have a long way to go, and persistent and strenuous efforts are called for. As China continues to develop, its people will surely achieve a better life. However, no matter how strong it may grow, China will always see in Africa a tried and tested friend.
Ladies and gentlemen,
China cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world or Africa. On their part, both the rest of the world and Africa also need China to seek prosperity and stability. Though there is a broad ocean between us, China and Africa share a strong empathy. We are bound not only by profound traditional friendship and closely-linked interests, but also by the dreams we each have.
More than 1.3 billion Chinese are working hard to realize the Chinese Dream of great national renewal, and more than one billion Africans are striving to realize the African dream of gaining strength through unity and achieving development and rejuvenation. We Chinese and Africans should enhance unity, cooperation, mutual support and assistance so as to fulfill our dreams. We should also work with the international community to realize the global dream of enduring peace and common prosperity, and make a new and even greater contribution to the noble cause of peace and development of mankind.
* Speech at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Center in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
1 Habari, Swahili, meaning "Hello."
2 Zhou Enlai (1898-1976) was a Marxist, Chinese proletarian revolutionary, statesman, military strategist and diplomat, as well as one of the major leaders of the Communist Party of China and the People's Republic of China, and co-founder of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
3 The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation is a new platform for collective dialogues and cooperation between China and African countries – an effective mechanism to promote South-South cooperation. The First Ministerial Conference was held in October 2000 in Beijing. The Beijing Summit and the Third Ministerial Conference was held in November 2006, also in Beijing, attended by Chinese leaders and 48 heads of state and government and representatives from Africa. The Beijing Summit passed the Declaration of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and Forum on China-Africa Cooperation – Beijing Action Plan (2007-2009), confirming a new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa.
4 Asantenisana, Swahili, meaning "Thank you."
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)