Towards a Stronger China-Africa Community of Shared Future*
September 3, 2018
To quote a Chinese saying, "The ocean is vast because it rejects no rivers."1 China is the world's largest developing country, and Africa is the continent with the largest number of developing countries. China and Africa have long forged a community of shared future, and we rise and fall together. China will work closely with African nations to build an even stronger community of shared future and turn it into a pacesetter for building such a community for humanity.
First, let us build a stronger China-Africa community of shared future that assumes our joint responsibilities. Let us increase political and policy dialogue at various levels, enhance mutual understanding and support on issues bearing on our core interests and major concerns, and strengthen coordination on major international and regional issues. These efforts will serve our common interests and those of other developing countries.
Second, let us build a stronger China-Africa community of shared future that pursues win-win cooperation. Let us build on the complementarity between our respective development strategies and seize the opportunities offered by the Belt and Road Initiative. We need to see to it that the Belt and Road Initiative and the AU Agenda 2063, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the development programs of African countries better complement each other. With these efforts, we can consolidate our traditional areas of cooperation, expand into new areas, unlock new potential, and foster new growth areas in the economy.
Third, let us build a stronger China-Africa community of shared future that delivers happiness for all of us. A better life for our people is the ultimate goal of growing our relations, so we need to make sure our cooperation delivers tangible benefits to both Chinese and African peoples. Mutual assistance and solidarity has been the hallmark of China-Africa relations over the years. China, for its part, will do more to help African countries to alleviate poverty, pursue development, increase employment and incomes, and improve the lives of their peoples.
Fourth, let us build a stronger China-Africa community of shared future that promotes cultural prosperity. China and African nations have all created splendid civilizations that we can be proud of. We are ready to make a greater contribution to cultural diversity in the world. We will promote exchanges, mutual learning and harmony between our civilizations, and thereby invigorate our civilizations and cultures, enrich our arts, and provide rich cultural nourishment for China-Africa cooperation. With more people-to-people exchanges in culture and the arts, education, sports, and between our think tanks, media organizations, and women and young people, the bonds between the peoples of China and Africa will grow stronger.
Fifth, let us build a stronger China-Africa community of shared future that enjoys common security. Those who value peace most are those who have gone through adversity. China champions a new vision of security to pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. China firmly supports African countries and the African Union as well as other regional organizations in Africa in solving African issues in the African way. China also supports the African initiative of "Silence the Guns in Africa". China is ready to play a constructive role in promoting peace and stability in Africa and supports African countries in building up their own capacity for safeguarding stability and peace.
Sixth, let us build a stronger China-Africa community of shared future that promotes harmony between man and nature. The Earth is the only place we can call home. China will work with Africa to pursue green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable development and protect our lush mountains and lucid waters and all living beings on our planet. China will strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Africa on climate change, clean energy, prevention and control of desertification and soil erosion, protection of wildlife, and other areas of ecological and environmental preservation. Together, we can make China and Africa beautiful places for people to live in harmony with nature.
Since the 2015 FOCAC Johannesburg Summit, China has fully implemented the 10 cooperation plans adopted at the summit. A large number of railway, highway, airport, port and other infrastructure projects have been completed or are under construction, as well as a number of economic and trade cooperation zones. Our cooperation in peace and security, science, education, culture, health, poverty reduction, and people-to-people interactions has deepened. The US$60 billion financing pledged by China has been delivered or arranged. These 10 plans have brought huge benefits to the African and Chinese peoples. They amply demonstrate the creativity, rallying power and efficiency of China-Africa cooperation, and lifted China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership to new heights.
As a step towards an even stronger China-Africa community of shared future in the new era, China will build on these 10 cooperation plans and launch eight new initiatives in close collaboration with African countries in the next three years and beyond.
First, an industrial promotion initiative. We will open a China-Africa economic and trade expo in China; we encourage Chinese companies to increase investment in Africa, and will build and upgrade a number of economic and trade cooperation zones in Africa. China supports Africa in achieving general food security by 2030, and will work with Africa to formulate and implement a program of action to promote China-Africa cooperation in agricultural modernization. China will implement 50 agricultural assistance programs, and provide RMB1 billion of emergency humanitarian food assistance to African countries affected by natural disasters. We will send 500 senior agriculture specialists to Africa and provide training for young leaders of agricultural science and research and for young farmers who can lead others to a better life. We will support Chinese companies in Africa to forge alliances of corporate social responsibilities. We will continue to strengthen cooperation with African countries in local currency settlement and make good use of the China-Africa Development Fund, the China-Africa Fund for Industrial Cooperation, and the Special Loan for the Development of African SMEs.
Second, an infrastructure connectivity initiative. China will work with the African Union to formulate a China-Africa infrastructure cooperation plan. We support Chinese companies in participating in infrastructure development projects in African countries under an invest-build-operate or other applicable model, with a focus on cooperation in energy, transport, IT, telecommunications, and cross-border water resources. We will work with African countries to undertake a number of key connectivity projects. We support the development of the Single African Air Transport Market and will open more direct flights between China and Africa. We will facilitate bond issuance by African countries and their financial institutions in China. Following multilateral rules and procedures, we will support African countries in making better use of the financing resources of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank, and the Silk Road Fund.
Third, a trade facilitation initiative. We will increase imports from Africa, especially non-resource products. We support African countries' participation in the China International Import Expo. The least developed African countries participating in the Expo will be exempted from exhibition stand fees. We will continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation on market regulation and between customs authorities, and implement 50 trade facilitation programs for Africa. On a regular basis, we will hold marketing activities for Chinese and African brand products. We support the building of the African Continental Free Trade Area and will continue to hold free trade negotiations with interested African countries and regions, and we will set up relevant mechanisms to promote e-commerce cooperation with Africa.
Fourth, a green development initiative. China will start 50 projects for green development and ecological and environmental protection in Africa to expand exchanges and cooperation with Africa on climate change, ocean, desertification prevention and control, and wildlife protection. A China-Africa environmental cooperation center will be set up, and more policy dialogue and joint research on environmental issues will be conducted. The China-Africa Green Envoys Program will be implemented to strengthen Africa's human capacity for environmental management, pollution prevention and control, and green development. A China-Africa bamboo center will be established to help Africa make bamboo and rattan products. China will also work with Africa to raise public awareness of environmental protection.
Fifth, a capacity building initiative. China will share more of its development experience with Africa and support cooperation with Africa in planning economic and social development. Ten Lu Ban2 Workshops will be set up in Africa to provide vocational training for young Africans. China will support a China-Africa innovation cooperation center to promote youth innovation and entrepreneurship. A tailor-made program will be carried out to train 1,000 talented Africans. China will provide Africa with 50,000 government scholarships and 50,000 training opportunities for seminars and workshops, and will invite 2,000 young Africans to visit China for exchanges.
Sixth, a health care initiative. China will upgrade 50 medical and health aid programs for Africa, particularly flagship projects such as the headquarters of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention and China-Africa friendship hospitals. Exchange and information cooperation will be carried out on public health. Cooperation programs will be launched on the prevention and control of emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases, schistosomiasis, HIV/AIDS and malaria. China will train more medical specialists for Africa and continue to send medical teams that best meet Africa's needs. More mobile medical services will be provided to patients for the treatment of cataracts, heart disease and dental defects, and targeted health care services will be provided to women and children of vulnerable groups in Africa.
Seventh, a people-to-people exchange initiative. China will establish an institute of African studies to enhance inter-civilizational exchanges with African nations. The China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Plan will be upgraded. Fifty joint cultural, sports and tourism events will be organized. China welcomes Africa's participation in the Silk Road International League of Theaters, the Silk Road International Museum Alliance, and the Network of Silk Road Art Festivals. A China-Africa media cooperation network will be established. More African culture centers will be opened in China and more Chinese culture centers in Africa. Qualified African educational institutes are welcome to host Confucius Institutes. More African countries are welcome to become destinations for Chinese tour groups.
Eighth, a peace and security initiative. China will set up a China-Africa peace and security fund to boost our cooperation in peace, security, peacekeeping, and law and order. China will continue to provide military aid to the AU, and will support countries in the Sahel region and those bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea in upholding security and combating terrorism in their regions. A China-Africa peace and security forum will be established as a platform for more exchanges in this area. Fifty security assistance programs will be launched to advance China-Africa cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, and in law and order, UN peacekeeping missions, fighting piracy, and combating terrorism.
To make sure that these eight initiatives are implemented on the ground, China will extend US$60 billion of financing to Africa in the form of government assistance as well as investment and financing by financial institutions and companies. This will include US$15 billion of grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, US$20 billion of credit lines, the setting up of a US$10 billion special fund for development financing and a US$5 billion special fund for financing imports from Africa. We are encouraging Chinese companies to make at least US$10 billion of investment in Africa in the next three years. In addition, for those of Africa's least developed countries, heavily indebted and poor countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing countries that have diplomatic relations with China, the debt they have incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese government loans due to mature by the end of 2018 will be written off.
The future of China-Africa relations lies in our young people. Many of the measures in the eight initiatives I have just announced are designed to help young people in Africa. These measures will provide young Africans with more training and job opportunities and open up more space for their development. Last October, I wrote back to the exchange students of the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development. Most of them were from Africa. I encouraged them to make the best of what they have learned, aim high, and keep working hard to promote China-Africa cooperation and South-South cooperation. I believe they have new roles to play and new accomplishments to make in this regard.
"The red rising sun will light up the road ahead."3 I am confident that the baton of China-Africa friendship will be passed from one generation to the next and that China and Africa, working together, will build an even more vibrant community of shared future. The day will surely come when the Chinese nation realizes its dream of national rejuvenation and Africa realizes its dream of unity and invigoration.
* Part of the keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
1 Guan Zi.
2 Lu Ban (507-444 BC) was a civil engineer and inventor in the Spring and Autumn Period.
3 Liang Qichao: "Young China" (Shao Nian Zhong Guo Shuo). Liang Qichao (1873-1929) was a thinker and scholar, and one of the leaders of the Hundred Days' Reform in 1898 in the late Qing Dynasty.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)