President Hu proposes new measures to boost China-Africa ties Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chinese President Hu Jintao addresses the opening ceremony of the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing, capital of China, July 19, 2012. (Xinhua Photo)

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday proposed new measures in five priority areas to boost China-Africa ties.

"In the next three years, the Chinese government will take measures in five priority areas to support the cause of peace and development in Africa and boost the China-Africa strategic partnership," Hu said while addressing the opening ceremony of the fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

"First, the Chinese side will expand cooperation in investment and financing to support sustainable development in Africa. China will provide 20 billion U.S. dollars in credit to African countries to assist them in developing infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and small- and medium-sized enterprises," Hu said.

"Second, the Chinese side will continue to increase assistance to Africa to bring the benefits of development to the African people. China will build more agricultural technology demonstration centers as necessary to help African countries increase production capacity. China will implement the 'African Talents Program' to train 30,000 personnel in various sectors, offer 18,000 government scholarships and build cultural and vocational training facilities," Hu said.

"China will deepen medical and health cooperation, send 1,500 medical personnel to Africa and continue to carry out the 'Brightness Action' campaign to provide free treatment for cataract patients. China will help African countries enhance capacity-building in meteorological infrastructure and forest protection and management. China will continue to carry out well-drilling and water supply projects in Africa to provide safe drinking water for the African people," Hu said.

"Third, the Chinese side will support the African integration process and help Africa enhance its own capacity for overall development. China will establish a partnership with Africa on transnational and trans-regional infrastructure development, support related project planning and feasibility studies and encourage established Chinese companies and financial institutions to take part in transnational and trans-regional infrastructural development in Africa. China will help African countries upgrade customs and commodity inspection facilities to promote intra-regional trade," Hu said.

"Fourth, the Chinese side will boost people-to-people friendship to create a solid foundation of public support for enhancing China-Africa development. China proposes to carry out the 'China-Africa people-to-people friendship action' to support and promote exchanges and cooperation between people's organizations, women and youth of the two sides. China proposes to set up a 'China-Africa Press Exchange Center' in China to encourage exchanges and visits between Chinese and African media, and China supports exchanges between the correspondents of media organizations from both sides. China will continue to implement the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Plan to sponsor 100 programs for research, exchange and cooperation by academic institutions and scholars of the two sides," Hu said.

"Fifth, we should promote peace and stability in Africa and create a secure environment for Africa's development. China will launch the 'Initiative on China-Africa Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Security,' deepen cooperation with the African Union (AU) and African countries in maintaining peace and security in Africa, provide financial support for AU peacekeeping missions and the development of the African Standby Force, as well as train more security officials and peacekeepers for the AU," Hu said.

In his remarks, President Hu also said China and Africa should strengthen political mutual trust by carrying forward their traditional friendship, maintaining the momentum of high-level exchanges, enhancing strategic dialogue, increasing experience-sharing on governance, doing away with external interference and deepening mutual understanding and trust.

"China will staunchly support African countries in upholding peace and stability and seeking strength through unity," Hu said, adding "China will play a positive and constructive role in African affairs."

Hu said China and Africa should increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges and encourage exchanges and interactions between the two sides in education, culture, science and technology, health, sports and tourism.

China and Africa should increase coordination and cooperation in international affairs and jointly uphold the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations to promote both democracy in international relations and balanced global development, Hu said.

"Both sides should oppose the big bullying the small, the strong domineering the weak and the rich oppressing the poor," Hu said.

Hu noted that China and Africa should make FOCAC stronger, motivate FOCAC members and fully tap their enthusiasm and creativity in order to enhance the cohesion and influence of FOCAC and make it a more effective platform for cooperation.

Hu said China and Africa have enhanced political relations featuring mutual respect and mutual trust.

China's relations with all African countries, the AU and other regional organizations have grown in strength. It has formed strategic partnerships and launched strategic dialogue mechanisms with many African countries, and has supported African countries in independently resolving hotspot issues in the region and advancing the process of African integration, Hu said.

The two sides have joined hands to fight the international financial crisis, effectively implemented the eight measures for practical cooperation announced at the Beijing Summit and eight additional measures announced at the Fourth Ministerial Conference, and made steady progress in building a framework of all-around cooperation, Hu said.

Hu said China's trade with and investment in Africa have been expanding. In 2011, two-way trade reached 166.3 billion U.S. dollars, three times the figure in 2006. Cumulative Chinese direct investment in Africa has exceeded 15 billion U.S. dollars, with investment projects covering 50 countries.

China has built over 100 schools, 30 hospitals, 30 anti-malaria centers and 20 agricultural technology demonstration centers in Africa. It has met its pledge to provide 15 billion U.S. dollars in preferential lending to Africa.

Hu said China and Africa have conducted increasing people-to-people and cultural exchanges. A number of activities have been carried out, including Chinese/African Cultures in Focus, the Joint Research and Exchange Plan, Think Tanks Forum, People's Forum and Young Leaders Forum.

China has trained close to 40,000 African personnel in various sectors and provided over 20,000 government scholarships to people in African countries. China and Africa have set up 29 Confucius Institutes in 22 African countries. Twenty pairs of leading Chinese and African universities have entered into cooperation under the 20+20 Cooperation Plan for Chinese and African Institutions of Higher Education, the Chinese president said.

The two sides have also worked closely on UN reform, countering climate change, sustainable development, WTO Doha Round negotiations and other major issues, Hu said.

The FOCAC ministerial conference will be held in the Chinese capital on Thursday and Friday, bringing together heads of state or government, foreign ministers and ministers for foreign economic cooperation from China and 50 African countries, as well as representatives from the AU.

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Editor: An Lu
Source: Xinhua