A New Era of China-Africa Cooperation and Common Development*
December 4, 2015
The world is undergoing profound changes. Economic globalization and information technology have helped greatly release social productivity. We have been presented with unprecedented opportunities for development. On the other hand, we are faced with unprecedented challenges, as hegemony, terrorism, financial turbulence and environmental crisis have become more pronounced.
In conducting China's relations with Africa, we apply the principles of sincerity, affinity, and good faith and uphold the values of the greater good and shared interests. We will work with our African friends to embrace a new era of mutually beneficial cooperation and common development. With this in mind, I propose that the new 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 mutual trust is the foundation of China-Africa friendship. We should respect each other's choice of development path, and neither of us should try to impose our will on the other. On issues involving the core interests and major concerns of either side, we should jointly uphold equity and justice in the spirit of mutual understanding and mutual support. 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 mutually beneficial economic cooperation. We Chinese value friendship and justice as well as shared interests, and we place more importance on the former. Friendship and justice, which define China-Africa relations, require us to facilitate Africa's development efforts and ultimately deliver common development through mutually beneficial cooperation. We should fully leverage the strengths of mutual political trust and economic complementarity between China and Africa, and focus on cooperation in industrial capacity, networks of high-speed railway, expressway and regional civil aviation, and industrialization. This will enable China-Africa cooperation to develop in all areas and benefit both Chinese and African people.
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, and facilitate exchanges between young people, women, think tanks, the media, universities and other sectors of the two sides. We should promote cultural interaction, policy coordination and people-to-people exchanges to advance common progress and ensure lasting friendship between China and Africa 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 guarantor of development. Development holds the key to solving all problems. China supports African people in settling African issues themselves in the African way. We are of the view that in resolving security issues, both symptoms and root causes must be addressed in a holistic way. China stands ready to help Africa build the capacity to maintain and strengthen 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 a common position on and interests in a wide range of international issues. We should strengthen consultation and coordination, work for a fairer and more equitable global governance system, and safeguard our common interests. China will continue to stand up and speak for Africa at the United Nations and other forums, and support Africa in playing a greater role on the world stage.
To build a China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership, China will implement ten cooperation programs with Africa in the next three years. Guided by the principles of government leadership, enterprise as the major actor, market operation, and mutually beneficial cooperation, China will introduce these programs to address three bottleneck issues holding back Africa's development, namely, inadequate infrastructure, lack of professional and skilled personnel, and shortage of capital. These programs will help accelerate Africa's industrialization and agricultural modernization, and thereby help Africa to achieve sustainable development on its own.
– The China-Africa industrialization program. China will actively promote partnering in the fields of industrial complementarity and industrial capacity between China and Africa, and encourage more Chinese enterprises to make investment in Africa. China will build or upgrade a number of industrial parks in cooperation with Africa, send senior experts and advisers to Africa, and set up regional vocational education centers and schools with a view to enhancing Africa's industrial capacity. In this context, China will also train 200,000 technical personnel and provide 40,000 training opportunities for African personnel in China.
– The China-Africa agricultural modernization program. China will share its experience in agricultural development with Africa and transfer readily applicable farming technologies. We will 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 rural incomes. 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 gravely concerned about the poor harvests caused by El Nino in many African countries and will provide RMB1 billion of emergency food aid to the affected countries.
– The China-Africa infrastructure program. China will step up mutually beneficial cooperation with Africa in infrastructure planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance. We support Chinese enterprises in their active participation in Africa's infrastructural development, particularly in sectors such as railways, roads, regional aviation, ports, electricity, and telecommunications, which will help enhance Africa's capacity for sustainable development. We will help African countries in establishing five transport universities.
– The China-Africa financial program. China will expand its Renminbi settlement and currency swap operations with African countries. It will encourage Chinese financial institutions to set up more branches in Africa, and increase its investment and financing cooperation with Africa in multiple ways so as to provide financial support and services for Africa's industrialization and modernization.
– The China-Africa green development program. China will support Africa in bolstering its capacity for green, low-carbon and sustainable development and help Africa in launching 100 projects to develop clean energy, protect wildlife, promote environment-friendly agricultural projects, and build smart cities. China-Africa cooperation will never be pursued at the expense of Africa's eco-system and long-term interests.
– The China-Africa trade and investment facilitation program. China will carry out 50 aid-for-trade projects to improve Africa's "software" and "hardware" capacity for its internal and external trade and investment. China is ready to negotiate comprehensive free trade agreements with countries and regional organizations in Africa covering trade in goods and services and investment cooperation. These agreements, once concluded, will boost China's 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.
– The China-Africa poverty reduction program. While intensifying its own poverty reduction efforts, China will increase its aid to Africa. We will carry out 200 "Happy Life" projects and poverty reduction programs focusing on women and children. We will cancel outstanding debts in the form of interest-free government loans borrowed by the least-developed African countries that would mature by the end of 2015.
– The China-Africa public health program. China will help Africa strengthen its public health prevention and control system and build up its capacity in public health, including 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 of the anti-malaria compound artemisinin to Africa, and encourage and support local drug production by Chinese enterprises in Africa to increase Africans' access to medicines.
– The China-Africa cultural and people-to-people program. China will build five cultural centers in Africa and provide satellite TV reception to 10,000 African villages. We will provide Africa with 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 will support the opening of more direct flights between China and Africa to boost our tourism cooperation.
– The China-Africa peace and security program. China will provide a grant of US$60 million to African Union 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 in their capacity building in areas such as national defense, counter-terrorism, riot prevention, customs and immigration control.
To ensure successful implementation of these ten cooperation programs, China has decided to provide financial support totaling US$60 billion. This includes US$5 billion of grants and interest-free loans; US$35 billion of concessionary loans on more favorable terms and export credit lines; 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 Industrial Cooperation with an initial contribution of US$10 billion.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The past 15 years have seen fruitful progress across the board in China-Africa practical cooperation. In 2014, two-way trade and China's total non-financial investment in Africa had grown by multiples of 22 and 60 compared with the year 2000, which shows that China's contribution to Africa's economic development has risen significantly. FOCAC has become a pacesetter in China-Africa cooperation, a model of 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 take bold steps, scale the heights, and look afar. Let us join hands, pool the wisdom and strength of the 2.4 billion Chinese and Africans, and open a new era of China-Africa mutually beneficial cooperation and common development.
* Part of the speech at the opening ceremony of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)