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Ambassador ZHOU Pingjian: FOCAC Beijing Summit a Meeting of Equals for Win-Win Cooperation
2018/07/19

On July 17-18,2018, Nigerian leading newspaper Thisday and Daily Trust published an article written by Ambassador of China to Nigeria Dr.ZHOU Pingjian. The full text goes as follows:

 

In April 2016, President Buhari paid a successful state visit to China. He was the first head of state from Africa President Xi Jinping received in Beijing shortly after the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The two heads of state also held fruitful bilateral talks on the sidelines of the FOCAC summit in South Africa in December 2015.

President Xi and President Buhari reached consensus to deepen China-Nigeria cooperation across-the-board. Under the guidance of the important consensus, the China-Nigeria relations have entered a new stage of rapid development. The implementation work of the outcome of the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit has been going smoothly with prominent achievements in Nigeria.

I took the modern train from Kaduna to Abuja in November 2016. I shook hands with hardworking Nigerians and their CCECC teammates on the Lagos-Ibadan railway construction site in Papalanto last month. I have traveled to more than two-thirds of the 36 states across Nigeria in less than two years. I am fortunate to be an eyewitness of so many great things happening in this great nation in spite of the challenges it faces. And I feel proud that China has been proved to be a reliable partner of Nigeria in its pursuit of peace and prosperity.

As President Buhari said on July 12 in his keynote address on the occasion of the commissioning of the first phase of the Abuja rail mass transit project, “I am thankful to the Government and people of China for their investment in the Nigerian economy. I commend the CCECC Limited-the Contracting Firm, for the quality of work and timely delivery of this project. Let me place on record the Nigerian government’s appreciation to the Government of China and the EXIM Bank of China for their support on this and many other projects currently being executed in the country. This gesture further cements the already existing cordial relations and developmental partnership between Nigeria and the People’s Republic of China.”

As the largest developing country in the world, China highly values its relations with Nigeria, the largest developing country in Africa. Indeed, China-Nigeria cooperation is brotherly South-South cooperation between equal partners. China remains committed to stepping up its mutually beneficial cooperation with Nigeria in infrastructure, agriculture, industrial capacity, investment and other areas.

We Chinese appreciate the African wisdom, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” As agreed by both the Chinese side and the African side, this September China will host the FOCAC Beijing Summit under the theme of China-Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation.

The FOCAC was incepted in 2000. The past 18 years have seen fruitful progress in China-Africa cooperation across the board. Two-way trade and China’s total non-financial investment in Africa in 2017 were 17 times and around 100 times that of 2000 respectively, which shows China’s contribution to Africa’s economic development has risen significantly. As a key platform for the collective dialogue and cooperation between China and African countries, the FOCAC has become a model of South-South cooperation and a banner of international cooperation with Africa for the whole world to see.

China-Africa cooperation is universally welcomed and supported by the African countries. It is based on solid principles. The following three things set China-Africa cooperation apart:

First, China's cooperation with Africa has no political strings attached. China respects the will and needs of African countries. We treat each other as equals. No one party imposes its own terms on, or lectures, or exports models to the others, or attaches political strings to our cooperation. This is the hallmark of China's cooperation with Africa.

Second, China's cooperation with Africa is a boost to local economic and social development. The debt problem in some African countries is the result of multiple factors and not unique to them. It is a “growing pain” that naturally emerges in the process of development and can only be eliminated in the course of further development. China is taking the initiative to align its development plan with those of African countries, helping them to build capacity for home-grown development, and undertaking a large number of projects that will make a big difference to economies and lives in Africa.

Third, China's cooperation with Africa is economically viable and win-win in nature. China understands the importance of debt sustainability in Africa and is helping Africa to improve its investment environment. As China's financing to Africa is provided in a responsible manner, the associated risks are generally under control. China empathizes with Africa's situation and tries to help Africa contain debt risks and relieve the pressure of repayment through encouraging its companies to make more direct investment to Africa and exploring new models such as public-private partnership (PPP).

Facts speak louder than words and fair-minded people can tell right from wrong. The benefits of China-Africa cooperation are abundantly clear.

In keeping with the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, we are now making all-out efforts to advance the preparatory work for the Beijing Summit. Both sides will endeavor to combine the theme of the Summit with the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” between China and Africa, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, the Agenda 2063 of the African Union as well as the development strategies of various African countries such as Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to make new planning for win-win cooperation and open up new prospects for common development. The Summit will unveil new measures for China-Africa all-round cooperation in the next stage. It is believed that under the joint efforts of China and Africa, the FOCAC Beijing Summit will surely become another historic event to strengthen China-Africa solidarity and cooperation.

As President Xi said in his congratulatory message to the AU summit on July 1st, he looks forward to participate in the Beijing summit with African leaders to discuss plans for the development of China-Africa cooperation so as to improve the well-being of the Chinese and African peoples and promote world peace and development.

It is our firm belief that President Buhari’s attendance at the upcoming FOCAC Beijing Summit will make important contribution to China-Africa cooperation and bring about new opportunities for the comprehensive development of China-Nigeria strategic partnership.

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