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Transcript of the Interview on China-Africa Relations by H.E. Jia Qinglin, CPPCC Chairman
2012/02/08
 

H.E. Jia Qinglin, CPPCC Chairman will attend the Opening Ceremony of the 18th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia and pay an official goodwill visit to Ethiopia from January 27 to 29. Prior to his visit, he was interviewed on current China-AU, China-Africa relations. The transcript is as follows:

I. How would you comment on the current development of China- Africa relations? How will China help Africa gain this due place on the international arena?

In recent years, relations between China and Africa have continued to make fresh progress on the basis of their traditional friendship, demonstrating a strong vitality and a huge potential for development. Political trust between the two sides has deepened steadily with cooperation in the economy, trade and other fields ascending to new levels and cultural and people-to-people exchanges increasing in scope and depth. The two sides have maintained close coordination on major international and regional issues. Under the guidance of the Forum on the China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the new type of strategic partnership between the two sides is growing in strength and assuming new dimensions.

We are pleased to note that the role played by Africa in international and regional affairs has become increasingly important in recent years. This, in my view, is attributable to two factors. The first is that the trend of seeking strength through unity among African countries has picked up momentum. The second is that the solidarity and cooperation between African countries and other developing countries has grown stronger. Facts have proven that China-Africa cooperation has not only served the economic and social development and rising international status of the two sides but also contributed to peace and development globally.

I have come here upon invitation to attend the African Union summit and pay a visit to Ethiopia. The purpose of my visit is to show to Africa and the international community at large that China firmly commits itself to enhancing solidarity and cooperation with African countries, firmly supports African efforts for strength through unity and the integration process, and that China firmly support a greater African role in international and regional affairs. China endeavors to deepen its cooperation with African on the basis of equality, mutual trust and mutual benefit, and is ready to join the international community in promoting peace and development in Africa.

II. What are the principles guiding China’s efforts to promote economic development in Africa? What will the Chinese government do to expand investment in Africa?

China pursues a win-win strategy of opening up, which means that China aims to develop itself amid the common development of all developing countries. While working to develop ourselves, we strive to enhance economic cooperation with Africa and accelerate African development through our own development. In conducting cooperation with Africa, we adhere to the principles of mutual benefit and common development, making sure that our assistance will be results-oriented and that we will not interfere in the internal affairs of the recipient countries. This practice has been widely appreciated by African countries.

Investment is an important part of China-Africa economic cooperation. The Chinese government has all along encouraged and supported greater investment in Africa by competitive and reputable Chinese companies and has taken measures to guide such efforts. They include providing concessional loans, establishing the China-Africa Development Fund and setting up economic and trade cooperation zones in Africa. These measures have served as effective incentives. The stock of Chinese investment in Africa surged from US$490 million at the end of 2003 to US$14.7 billion in 2011, which covers mining, finance, manufacturing, construction, tourism, agriculture, forestry, animal farming, fishery and many other fields. The number of Chinese companies that have made investment in Africa has surpassed 2,000.

The Chinese side stands ready to discuss with the African side on the areas, modalities and channels of expanding investment with a view to improving the quality of cooperation in the future.

III. How do you view the status and role of AU? What symbolic meaning does the AU Conference Complex built by China have for China-Africa relations? The 18th AU summit will convene under the theme of “Boosting Intra-Africa Trade”. What role will China play in promoting this kind of trade?

The AU is the most representative and most important inter-governmental organization in Africa. Since its inception 10 years ago, it has made significant contribution to peace, stability and development in Africa and become a banner of strength through unity in the continent. China attaches great importance to its relations with the AU. In recent years, thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides, China-AU relations have achieved comprehensive and rapid growth with bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields deepening continuously. The decision to build the AU Conference Complex was a key outcome of the FOCAC Beijing Summit. With less than three years of construction, it was completed on schedule at the end of last year. The AU Conference Complex on top of the “Roof of Africa” embodies China’s staunch support for Africa’s effort for strength through unity and the integration process, and will undoubtedly become a new monument to China-Africa friendship and China-AU cooperation.

Given the complex and grim picture of the world economy, strengthening economic integration at the regional level will help build up Africa’s capacity to resist external risks. That the 18th AU summit chose “Boosting Intra-Africa Trade” as its theme is of great significance. We sincerely hope that the meeting will make positive progress to this end. We have noted that both the AU and the African countries at large hope to see China actively participating in the integration process of Africa, Particularly in the areas of cross-border and cross-region infrastructure development. China holds a positive attitude towards this. We are ready to step up exchanges and dialogue with the AU and sub-regional organizations and will lose no time in promoting cooperation for enhanced connectivity in Africa in a spirit of practicality and innovation.

IV. The Chinese government announced eight new measures to advance China-Africa practical cooperation at the 4th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC. What progress has been made in the implementation of these measures?

Since the inception of FOCAC in October 2000, the Chinese side has earnestly implemented all its cooperation commitments made at various ministerials and the Beijing Summit. The achievements, which have been well received by the African side and highly regarded by the international community, are here for everyone to see.

In well over two years since the 4th Ministerial of FOCAC, China and Africa have worked together to implement the outcomes of the conference and made important headway in cooperation despite grave challenges posed by the international financial crisis. Smooth progress has been made in debt cancellation, tariff exemption, provision of concessional loans and the scheme of special loans designed to help small and medium sized African enterprises. Such projects as agricultural technology demonstration centers, clean energy development and China-Africa friendship schools have all been well underway. Personnel training programs for Africans have been carried out in an all-round way. A series of important and exciting activities such as the China-Africa Agriculture Forum, the FOCAC-legal Forum, the Young Leaders Forum, the People’s Forum, the Science and Technology Forum, the Think-tank Forum, the “African Culture in Focus” program, the 20+20 Cooperation plan for Chinese and African Institutions of Higher Education and the Joint Research and Exchange Program, have been held one after another, bringing China-Africa Cooperation to a new high.

This year will see the “grand finale” of the implementation of the 4th Ministerial outcomes. China will keep on working with African countries to complete all follow-up actions. With the 5th Ministerial of FOCAC due to be held this year, China will step up consultation and coordination with African countries to make good preparations so as to ensure its complete success and pave the way for greater progress in the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership.

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