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Connecting for Common Development
Remarks By Chinese Ambassador to Ghana H.E. Sun Baohong

Accra, 4 July 2017

H.E. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana,

Respected Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG),

Distinguished Experts and Scholars,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning. It is my great pleasure to join you in this conference co-sponsored by the Chinese Embassy in Ghana and the Institute for Democratic Governance under the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Program. The theme of this conference is “Building Resilient Industries and Infrastructure for Economic Transformation in Africa, the Role of China”. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Ghana, I wish to express our heartfelt congratulations on the successful opening of the conference, and to extend my sincere appreciation to IDEG for its considerate arrangements and my warm welcome to all of you, especially H.E.Vice President Dr. Bawumia, to attend this event. According to the agenda, I will make a presentation on the development of China-Africa relations and cooperation since the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

It is well known that China and Africa enjoy a long-standing friendship. As early as the 2nd Century B.C., the Han Dynasty of China began to exchange local specialties with Africa via the Silk Road. During the 15th Century, a Chinese navigator, Zheng He, led fleets four times to the eastern coast of Africa, visiting places of today’s Somalia and Kenya. Instead of establishing colonies or engaging in the slave trade, Zheng He and his fleets brought spice, silk and porcelain to Africa. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, China and Africa have always supported each other. China has firmly stood with African people in their fight for national independence and endeavors to pursue national development. African countries have also rendered China precious support on “One China Policy”. The China-Africa cooperation is the model for South-South cooperation.

The China-Africa cooperation has entered into fast track since the establishment of FOCAC in 2000. The 2006 Beijing Summit of FOCAC witnessed the establishment of a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchange. At the 2015 Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC, Chinese President Xi Jinping outlined the new China-Africa cooperation framework of "1+5+10". Specifically, "1" means the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Africa, "5" means five pillars sustaining our relations, that is, political equality and mutual trust, win-win economic cooperation, mutual learning between Chinese and African civilization, mutual assistance in security, and solidarity and coordination in international affairs, "10" means 10 Major China-Africa Cooperation Plans ranging from industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, finance, green development, trade and investment, poverty reduction, public health, cultural and people-to-people exchanges to peace and security, with a total of US$60 billion funding support from China.

The mutual political trust has been continuously enhanced. China and Africa enjoy frequent high-level exchanges with in-depth consultations and dialogues in various fields and at various levels. In 2013, President Xi visited Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of Congo after assuming the presidency and put forward the guideline on China's relations with Africa featuring sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, as well as the policy of upholding justice and pursuing shared interests. In December 2015, the FOCAC Summit was held in Africa for the first time. President Xi and 50 heads of state and government as well as representatives of African nations attended the Summit, laying a solid political foundation for China-Africa cooperation. Chinese national leaders and foreign minister have frequented Africa in recent years and have received dozens of African leaders as well. Last month, H.E. Vice President Dr. Bawumia paid a successful visit to China. The two sides reached broad consensus on further developing friendly cooperation in all fronts, injecting strong impetus to bilateral relations.

The pragmatic cooperation has yielded fruitful results. The China-Africa trade volume in the peak year of 2014 reached US$220 billion which was 22 times as much as the year of 2000 when FOCAC was established. In the first quarter of 2017, the growth rate of China-Africa trade volume reached 16.8%. China is the largest trade partner of Africa and Africa is the third largest investment destination and the second largest contract engineering market for China. More than 3,000 Chinese enterprises are investing in Africa with more than US$100 billion gross assets. The incomplete statistics show that China has constructed for Africa railways and roads with a total length surpassing 7,000 kilometers and has aided Africa over 1,000 set projects such as schools, hospitals and sports stadiums. Nearly half of the US$60 billion funding support that China pledged to Africa has been disbursed or arranged since the Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC. On 31st May 2017, China financed Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, linking the largest port city and the capital of Kenya, was officially launched. According to preliminary estimate, this railway will reduce the cost of freight in East Africa by 79% , the cost of business by 40%, and the transit time by half. The industrial capacity cooperation between China and Africa is ever increasing. The Chinese companies have established seven industrial parks in Zambia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Egypt, and Ethiopia. Just one week ago, Alipay, owned by Alibaba Group, announced to render services to the Chinese tourists in South Africa. The mobile payment is no longer distant to Africa.

The people-to-people exchange is growing rapidly. China and Africa have carried out more frequent people-to-people exchanges in areas such as culture, education, health, science, tourism, media, think tanks, universities, youth and local governments under the programs such as “China-Africa People-to-People Friendship Action”, “China-Africa Media Communication Centre”, “China-Africa Cultural Cooperation Partnership Program” and today’s “China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Program”. Around 40,000 African students are studying in China among which there are 5,500 Ghanaian students. The Chinese elements, like Kungfu, acupuncture, moxibustion, movie, and TV drama are very popular in Africa. The African music, food, and scenic spots have become the choice of Chinese consumers.

Peace and security cooperation has been growing vigorously. China has always been an active participant, supporter and vindicator of Africa's peace and security affairs, and is the largest contributor of UN peacekeepers to Africa among the 5 permanent members of UN Security Council. In the 9 ongoing UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, China participates in 7 missions. Since the end of 2008, China's convoy fleets have joined the international crackdown on piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the waters of Somalia. Till April 2017, China has sent over 70 ships in 26 batches, and provided escort service for 6,337 vessels in 1029 batches, in which 3274 ships were belonged to foreign countries or World Food Program and other international organizations. On the 10th of June, China’s first peacekeeping helicopter unit participated in the peacekeeping mission in Darfur region. In September 2015, at the UN Peacekeeping Summit, Chinese President Xi pledged to provide free military aid of US$100 million to the African Union to support the building of the African Standby Force and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis in the next 5 years. The Chinese government takes an active part in the mediation of hot-spot issues in Africa, such as the relations between Sudan and South Sudan, and the Somalia, South Sudan, and Mali issues, playing a unique role in resolving security issues in Africa.

H.E. Vice President, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

China-Africa cooperation has withstood the test and becomes booming with even greater vitality despite the vicissitudes of international situation. I think the reasons are as follows:

First, China-Africa cooperation respects ownership. A Chinese proverb goes like this, “Only the wearer knows whether his shoes fit”. The experience of China’s reform and opening-up tells us that the so-called universal value does not exist. Over the past 40 years, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese government and people have committed themselves to reform, opening-up and embarking on a successful path of development. Therefore, China supports African countries’ efforts in actively exploring the path of development suitable to their own situations. This path should neither be the Washington Consensus, nor the China Model, but the “African Initiative”. China will never act as a proselytizer, nor attach political strings; never interfere in domestic affairs of African countries, nor impose its will upon Africa and China will never issue an empty check. China always seeks to resolve the problems arising in our cooperation through negotiation on an equal footing. China's stance is widely acclaimed and welcomed by African countries as well as the people.

Second, China-Africa cooperation emphasizes treating each other with equality. As Chinese ancient sage Mencius said, “you can not win a heart by force, but only by virtue”. In conducting cooperation with Africa, China always abides by the guideline on its relations with Africa featuring sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, as well as the policy of upholding justice and pursuing shared interests. We combine the sustainable self-development of Africa and other developing countries with China's own development closely together to achieve win-win cooperation, common development and promote a more balanced and inclusive development. As a Chinese saying goes, "Nothing, not even mountains or oceans, can separate people with shared goals and vision." China and Africa are good friends, partners and brothers and are a close-knit community with a shared future. China and Africa share development experience, align cooperation concepts, so as to find the greatest common divisor of win-win cooperation.

Third, China-Africa cooperation conforms to the trend of times. The 21st century has witnessed globalization is going deeper and countries are becoming more interdependent. Yet, there are various kinds of uncertainties and instabilities. The issue of peace and development are still imminent, and non-traditional security issues such as terrorism, refugees and climate change are prominent. There are nearly 400 million people who live under the poverty line in Africa. If you want to go fast, walk alone; and if you want to go far, walk together. Under the new situation, China and Africa need to help each other, advance hand in hand and realize common development more than ever before.

Fourth, China and Africa can complement with each other in conducting cooperation. China has experience in development, technology, capital and market, which can help breaking the bottleneck of Africa in infrastructure and talent shortage. It can also help turning the rich natural and human resources and potentiality of Africa into the driving force for development and fruits benefiting people's livelihood, accelerating industrialization and agricultural modernization, and achieving economic independence and sustainable development. It is my hope that in the near future, Africa will shift the modal of exporting raw materials and establish a complete industrial chain. People can see more goods made by China and Africa jointly in the international market.

Fifth, China-Africa cooperation is innovation-driven. Innovation is the source of development. FOCAC itself comes out of innovation. China and Africa have made continuous innovation in financing mode, cooperation mechanism, training mechanism, intellectual support and greatly enhanced the quality and level of China-Africa cooperation. The G20 Summit in Hangzhou last year, under China’s initiative, proposed for the first time the Initiative on Supporting Industrialization in Africa and Least Developed Countries, which demonstrated once again China’s resolution to support the industrialization in Africa. China-Africa cooperation is shifting quickly from government-led assistance to market-driven trade and investment. This is conducive to enhancing the capacity of sustainable self-development for African countries.

H.E. Vice President, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing last May. 29 Heads of State and Government as well as 1,500-strong representatives from over 130 countries and 70 international organizations attended the Forum. A list of deliverables of 5 categories, 76 items and over 270 projects were achieved at the Forum. The Belt and Road Initiative aims at strengthening policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity, to promote free flow of economic elements, efficient allocation of resources and deep integration of markets of countries along the line, in order to create an open, inclusive, balanced and favorable regional economic cooperation framework for all parties. In the process of implementing the Belt and Road Initiative, China upholds the Silk Road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning, mutual benefit and win-win results, insists on the principle of wide consultation, joint construction and sharing in order to promote common development and prosperity and forge a community of common destiny for all mankind. This grand vision has injected new impetus into and opened up new prospects for China-Africa cooperation.

Africa is an important direction and goal of the Belt and Road Initiative. The Belt and Road Initiative is highly consistent with the 2063 Agenda of African Union, and the China Dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation shares in common with the Africa Dream of poverty alleviation and social development. We would like to take the opportunity of co-building the Belt and the Road to align the China-Africa Ten Cooperation Plans with the 2063 Agenda of African Union and help Africa to achieve sustainable self-development through deepening mutually beneficial cooperation.

China will continue to abide by the guideline on China's relations with Africa featuring sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, as well as the policy of upholding justice and pursuing shared interests.

China will continue to innovate the mechanism for cooperation and broaden new areas of cooperation. An ancient Chinese saying goes, the world is ever-changing. One needs both to inherit and to develop. We will adhere to the spirit of innovation while making adjustments according to different time, venue and country and build a systematic, dynamic and a long-term cooperation mechanism so as to forge FOCAC into a pragmatic creative workshop and bellwether, thus providing solid mechanism guarantee for China-Africa cooperation. On the basis of advancing cooperation in infrastructural facilities, industrialization and capacity production and cultural exchanges, China will further enhance cooperation with Africa in areas such as digital economy, artificial intelligence, renewable energy, environmental protection. We will unceasingly tap new potentialities of China-Africa comprehensive cooperation, create new economic growth engine, implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development and help Africa realize green sustainable development.

China will strengthen the connectivity of development strategies with African countries. We will continue to promote all-round cooperation with Africa combining the needs of African countries and the advantages of each side. Currently, we will advance cooperation in key areas such as infrastructure connectivity, capacity production, agricultural modernization, human resources, poverty-reduction and public health in order to help Africa realize the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

China will energetically help African countries with capacity building. If the youth are strong, the country will be strong. We will continue to help lift the 400 million people in Africa out of poverty, and assist the African countries to educate and train 200 million adolescents in Africa. China will continue to send experts, establish vocational training centers, strengthen personnel exchanges and training, and provide government scholarships for excellent African students to study in China so as to help Africa solve the problem of brain drain in realizing industrialization.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,

China-Africa relations are better than ever. China-Africa cooperation is facing unprecedented opportunities. China will continue to make contribution to economic transformation and sustainable development of Africa. I sincerely hope that all the participants today can contribute ideas to China-Africa friendship and create a better future for China-Africa win-win cooperation and common development! I wish the conference a complete success!

Thank you.

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