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Promote Friendly Cooperation Between China and Africa

Source: Xi Jinping The Governance of China IV Updated: 2023-11-03

Promote Friendly Cooperation Between China and Africa*

November 29, 2021

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and African countries. Over the past 65 years, China and Africa have forged unbreakable bonds in our struggle against imperialism and colonialism, and embarked on a distinctive path of cooperation in our journey towards development and revitalization. Together, we have written a splendid chapter of mutual assistance in a world of complexity and change, and set a shining example for building a new model of international relations.

Why do China and Africa have such a close relationship and such a deep bond of friendship? The key lies in an everlasting spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation forged between the two sides, characterized by sincere friendship and equality, mutual benefit and common development, fairness and justice, openness and inclusiveness, and progress with the times. This truly captures the story of China and Africa working together in good times and hardship over the past decades, and provides a source of strength for the continuous growth of friendly China-Africa relations.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of China’s lawful seat in the United Nations. Here, let me express sincere appreciation to the many African friends who supported China back then. Let me also make it clear that China will never forget the profound friendship of African countries and will remain guided by the principles of sincerity, amity, good faith, real results, and pursuing the greater good and shared interests. China will work together with African friends to carry forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation from generation to generation.

At the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), I proposed that we build an even stronger China-Africa community of shared future. The proposal was unanimously endorsed by African leaders. Over the past three years and more, China and Africa have worked together to fully implement the eight major initiatives and other outcomes of the Beijing Summit, and completed a large number of priority cooperation projects. China-Africa trade and China’s investment in Africa have seen a steady rise. Almost all African members of FOCAC have joined the great family of Belt and Road cooperation. All of this has added strong momentum to the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. As we stand at the historic starting point of building a China-Africa community of shared future in the new era, I wish to make the following four proposals:

First, fighting Covid-19 with solidarity. We need to put people and lives first and be guided by science. We should be ready to waive intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines, and ensure that vaccines are accessible and affordable in Africa to bridge the immunization gap.

Second, expanding practical cooperation. We need to open up new prospects for China-Africa cooperation, expand trade and investment, share experience on poverty reduction and elimination, strengthen cooperation on the digital economy, and promote entrepreneurship by young Africans and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). At the UN General Assembly this year, I proposed the Global Development Initiative, which shares similar goals with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We welcome the active support of African countries and their participation.

Third, promoting green development. In the face of climate change, a major challenge to all of humanity, we need to advocate green and low-carbon development, actively promote solar, wind and other sources of renewable energy, work for effective implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and continue to strengthen our capacity for sustainable development.

Fourth, upholding equity and justice. The world needs true multilateralism. Peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom are common values of humanity and represent the abiding aspirations of both China and Africa. We both advocate a development path suited to our national conditions and are both committed to safeguarding the rights and interests of developing countries. We both oppose intervention in domestic affairs, racial discrimination, and unilateral sanctions. We need to take an unequivocal stance on the just propositions of developing countries and translate our common aspirations and interests into joint action.

In the run-up to this Conference, our two sides have prepared the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035. Under the first three-year plan of the Vision, China will work closely with African countries to implement nine programs:

First, the medical and health program. To help the African Union (AU) achieve its goal of vaccinating 60 percent of the African population by 2022, I announce that China will provide another 1 billion doses of vaccine to Africa. Of these, 600 million doses will be donated, and 400 million doses will be jointly manufactured by Chinese and African enterprises. In addition, China will undertake 10 medical and health projects for African countries, and send 1,500 medical personnel and public health experts to Africa.

Second, the poverty reduction and agricultural development program. China will undertake 10 poverty reduction and agricultural projects, and send 500 agricultural experts to Africa. China will set up a number of China-Africa centers for modern agro-technology exchanges, demonstration and training in China, encourage Chinese institutions and companies to build demonstration villages for China-Africa cooperation on agricultural development and poverty reduction in Africa, and support the Alliance of Chinese Business in Africa for Social Responsibilities in launching the initiative of “100 Companies in 1,000 Villages”.

Third, the trade promotion program. China will open up fast-track channels for African agricultural exports to China, speed up the inspection and quarantine procedures, and further increase the scope of products enjoying zero-tariff treatment for the least developed countries (LDCs) who have diplomatic relations with China, in a bid to reach US$300 billion in total imports from Africa in the next three years. China will provide US$10 billion of trade finance to support African exports, and build in China a pioneering zone for in-depth China-Africa trade and economic cooperation and a China-Africa industrial park for Belt and Road cooperation. China will undertake 10 connectivity projects for Africa, form an expert group on economic cooperation with the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and give continued support to the development of the AfCFTA.

Fourth, the investment promotion program. China will encourage its businesses to invest no less than US$10 billion in Africa in the next three years, and will establish a platform for China-Africa private investment promotion. China will undertake 10 industrialization and employment promotion projects for Africa, provide credit facilities of US$10 billion to African financial institutions, support the development of African SMEs on a priority basis, and establish a China-Africa cross-border Renminbi service center. China will exempt African LDCs from debt incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese government loans due by the end of 2021. China is ready to channel to African countries US$10 billion from its share of the International Monetary Fund’s new allocation of special drawing rights.

Fifth, the digital innovation program. China will undertake 10 digital economy projects for Africa, set up centers for China-Africa cooperation on satellite remote-sensing applications, and support the development of China-Africa joint laboratories, partner institutes, and scientific and technological innovation and cooperation bases. China will work with African countries to expand Silk Road e-commerce cooperation, hold online shopping festivals presenting quality African products and undertaking tourism e-commerce promotion activities, and launch a campaign to market 100 African stores and 1,000 African products on e-commerce platforms.

Sixth, the green development program. China will undertake 10 green development, environmental protection and climate action projects for Africa, support the development of the Great Green Wall, and build centers of excellence on low-carbon development and climate change adaptation in Africa.

Seventh, the capacity building program. China will help build or upgrade 10 schools in Africa, and invite 10,000 high-level African professionals to seminars and workshops. We will implement Future of Africa – a project for China-Africa cooperation on vocational education, and start an employment “through train” initiative for African students in China. China will continue to work with African countries to set up Lu Ban Workshops, and encourage Chinese companies in Africa to create at least 800,000 local jobs.

Eighth, the cultural and people-to-people exchange program. All African countries which have diplomatic ties with China are encouraged to become destinations for Chinese tourist groups. We will hold African film festivals in China and Chinese film festivals in Africa, as well as a China-Africa youth services forum, and a China-Africa women’s forum.

Ninth, the peace and security program. China will undertake 10 peace and security projects for Africa. We will continue to deliver military assistance to the AU, support African countries’ efforts to independently maintain regional security and fight terrorism, and conduct joint exercises and on-site training between Chinese and African peacekeeping troops and cooperation on small arms and light weapons control.

Senegal’s first President Léopold Sédar Senghor once wrote, “Let us answer ‘present’ at the rebirth of the world.” I am convinced that the concerted efforts of China and Africa will make this FOCAC conference a full success, one that pools the might of the 2.7 billion Chinese and Africans and guides us towards a high-level China-Africa community of shared future.

* Main part of the keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)