Chinese Ambassador to Kenya H.E. Dr. Liu Xianfa's Article Themed "China-Africa Summit will Broaden Ties, Boost Growth" Published on The Standard Newspaper

The following article written by H.E. Dr. Liu Xianfa, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, was published on The Standard Newspaper on 29th November 2015.

China-Africa Summit will Broaden Ties, Boost Growth

By H.E. Dr. Liu Xianfa

On December 4 and 5, the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in South Africa. As the second FOCAC Summit after the 2006 Beijing Summit and the first ever FOCAC Summit to be held on the African continent, the Johannesburg Summit will be a grand meeting with historic significance. Centering on the theme of “Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development,” state leaders from China and Africa will gather in South Africa to jointly discuss measures to strengthen the linkage of China-Africa development strategies and industrial capacity cooperation, accelerate Africa’s independent sustainable development, and demonstrate the power of unity among developing countries.

Ever since the inception of FOCAC in 2000, China-Africa relations have deepened. Both sides understand and support each other on matters involving each other’s core interests. Statistics show that in 2014, trade between China and Africa exceeded US$ 220 billion and China’s investment stock in Africa surpassed US$ 30 billion, an increase of 22 and 60 per cent respectively over the figures in 2000 when FOCAC was established. Moreover, the share of China-Africa trade in Africa’s total foreign trade has increased from 3.8 per cent to 20.5 per cent. Chinese companies have invested in Africa in various fields such as finance, telecommunication, energy, manufacturing and agriculture, creating more than 100,000 local jobs. By September 2015, 5,675 kilometres of railway and 4,507 kilometres of roads in Africa had been built or is under construction with Chinese assistance or financing. Chinese companies have brought funds and skills to Africa, reducing the costs of construction.

China has been actively engaged in activities to promote peace and security in Africa. Among the five Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council, China has despatched the largest number of peace-keeping staff to Africa—it has participated in 16 UN peace-keeping missions and dispatched peace-keeping staff totaling 30,000. Since the Chinese navy kicked off its anti-pirate actions in Gulf of Aden and Somali seas, it has escorted over 6,000 Chinese and foreign ships.

China has provided much developmental assistance to help in the building of schools and hospitals and train personnel and students. In 2014, the Chinese government provided Africa with over 7,800 government scholarships and held more than 100 training programmes. China also took the lead in helping Africa fight the Ebola epidemic and was involved in research for new anti-malarial medicines.

FOCAC has become an important platform for China-Africa cooperation and a major brand for South-South cooperation. Even when the international climate has changed in the two regions, the China-Africa brotherhood has remained.

Adhering to the guidelines of “sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith” and the right approach to upholding justice and seeking interests proposed by Chinese President H.E. Xi Jinping, China will promote China-Africa cooperation. China is the largest developing country while Africa is the continent with the largest number of developing countries. Therefore, China will continue to promote the independent sustainable progress of Africa’s economy and vice versa. China will never repeat the rapacious colonial way of "taking without giving", and will never pursue development at the cost of the long-term interests of African countries; what we pursue is of mutual benefit.

China will support Africa in building diversified partnerships and has proposed that the international community respects Africa during their engagements.

In a nutshell, China-Africa cooperation features equality, mutual trust, mutual complementarity, common development and sustainable growth and promotes South-South cooperation.

Looking into the future, China and Africa provide immense opportunities for each other. As the largest emerging economy in the world, China’s economic development has entered the phase of the new normal. In recent years, China has tackled the difficulties and challenges brought by the slowdown of global economic growth and increased downward pressure on the world economy.

China and Africa both have distinctive features; China has mature and applicative technology and equipment and relatively abundant capital, while Africa is blessed with a remarkable advantage of markets, labour, power and natural resources. China and Africa have been rising hand in hand with the Chinese Dream and the African Dream taking off side by side. It is estimated that in the next five years, China will import goods worth $10 trillion and invest over $500 billion overseas. At the same time, outbound visits made by Chinese people will exceed 500 million. This will bring enormous business opportunities to the world, African countries included.

The FOCAC Johannesburg Summit will come up with new measures for China-Africa cooperation. China will leverage the advantages of China-Africa political mutual trust and economic complementarity, and help Africa break the two development bottlenecks of underdeveloped infrastructure and lack of human resources. China is willing to establish three development systems in Africa that promote the processing and manufacturing industry; food security; and public health to resolve the three livelihood issues of employment, food security and healthcare. China will also strengthen cooperation in the five key areas of industrialisation, agriculture modernisation, healthcare, cultural and people-to-people exchanges as well as promote peace and security.

China and Africa have always had a common destiny, sharing similar bitter historical experiences and common development tasks. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Chinese and African people jointly built the Tanzam Railway, which has been regarded as a railway of China-Africa friendship. Over 40 years have passed and today, China and Kenya are cooperating in constructing the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway. We wish and believe that through our joint efforts, The FOCAC Johannesburg Summit will be a great success, guiding the future development of China-Africa cooperation.

The writer is Chinese Ambassador to Kenya.

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