|Stronger China, Better Opportunity for Ghana|
By Gong Jianzhong, Chinese ambassador to Ghana
China is a developing country with 1.3 billion-plus population and more than 5,000 years of civilization. Over the past 34 years of reform and opening up, China has emerged as the world's largest commodity exporter, second-largest economy and importing country and the fifth-largest foreign investor. The world has been greatly impressed by China's development especially in the past decade and is marveling at the "China Miracle".
While being proud of the marvelous achievements, the Chinese people are sober-minded that the global and national conditions continue to undergo profound changes; China is facing unprecedented opportunities for development as well as challenges unknown before. At this crucial moment, the just-concluded 18th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) set forth the development blueprint for the party and the country, that is, China will unswervingly follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. The overall approach leading to this prospect is to accelerate economic, political, cultural, social and ecological progress.
--The economy should maintain sustained and sound development. On the basis of making China's development much more balanced, coordinated and sustainable, we should double its 2010 GDP and per capita income for both urban and rural residents by 2020.
--People's democracy should be expanded. Institutions of democracy should be improved and its forms enriched. People's enthusiasm, initiative and creativity should be fully leveraged.
--The country's cultural soft power should be improved significantly, and the cultural sector should become a pillar of the economy. Even greater progress should be made in taking Chinese culture to the global stage.
--Living standards should be fully raised. Equal access to basic public services should be generally achieved. The educational level of the entire population should be significantly raised and training of innovative professionals markedly improved.
--Major progress should be made in building a resource-conserving and environmentally friendly society. We must work hard to build a beautiful country, and achieve lasting and sustainable development of the Chinese nation.
The Chinese people are fully confident that under the leadership of the CPC, diligently marching along the aforesaid path, they will successfully achieve the general task of realizing the socialist modernization and the great renewal of the Chinese Nation. The 18th CPC National Congress has drawn a new outlook for China's socioeconomic development. Considering China's scale of economy and influence in the world as well as its close relations with the outside world, undoubtedly, its development will not only bring about profound changes in China, but affect the world at the same time, Ghana included.
Ghana is one of first Sub-Saharan countries to establish formal diplomatic relations with China. Over the past 52 years since 1960, our people have forged a deep friendship by supporting and helping each other in our respective pursuits of national independence and development. In 2010, the then president H.E. John Evans Atta Mills kicked off a state visit to China and had bilateral talks with Chinese President H.E. Mr. Hu Jintao, during which the two presidents spoke highly of bilateral ties, agreed to lift our friendly cooperative ties to a new high. And, China has generously provided a 3-billion U.S. dollar loan package to the Ghanaian Government under the Comprehensive Project Financing Agreement at the moment that Ghana was short of development funds. This action also features China's gargantuan confidence in the Ghana's further development and helps to promote the interest of the investors to Ghana.
In recent years, thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, we have witnessed frequent exchanges at various levels, expanding cooperation in economic, trade and many other areas as well as much fruitful collaboration within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. The bilateral trade between China and Ghana yielded the volume of about US$3.5 billion in year 2011. In the first half of this year the bilateral trade volume has reached more than US$2.3 billion, with an increase of 72% over the same period of last year. The number of newly registered Chinese investment projects continues to top Ghana's FDI list. A great number of projects are being constructed in accordance with the consensus reached by the two presidents two years ago. Undoubtedly, our fruitful cooperation has brought about tangible benefits to our two peoples. H.E. President Hu Jintao of China announced at the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation that was concluded just four months ago, a package of new measures to support Africa's peace and stability, and to promote Chinese-African relations. Under the framework of the new measures, China will collaborate with Ghana to implement more cooperative plans to achieve mutual benefits and win-win progress.
President Hu Jintao said in his report to the Party Congress that "China will increase unity and cooperation with other developing countries, work with them to uphold the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and support efforts to increase their representation and voice in international affairs and will remain a reliable friend and sincere partner of other developing countries." China always regards Ghana as a sincere, reliable and trustworthy friend and is ready to work with Ghana to increase exchanges at various levels, including those between the political parties. Ghana is abundant in mineral resources, human resources and market potential, while China has advantage in terms of capital, expertise, equipment and technology. China and Ghana are complementary to each other and our common interests are constantly expanding. Continuing to translate our respective advantages and long-time friendship into substantial development is a priority that needs the common wisdom and close collaboration of our two peoples.
The 18th CPC National Congress has produced the Party's new Central Committee led by H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping. While in Ghana, the general election is coming this Friday. I sincerely wish and strongly believe that the election would be peaceful, transparent and fair, given that Ghana has come a long way in its democratic dispensation. I would also like to ensure the people of Ghana that the new leadership of China will continue its commitment to developing the bilateral relations and deepening cooperation between our two countries. It is also my aspiration that the Ghanaian leaders would fully realize the importance of China-Ghana relations, seize the opportunity and contribute to elevating our partnership to a new height in the years ahead.
(Published in Daily Graphic, The Ghanaian Times, Business&Financial Times, The Finder, 5th December 2012)