The Fifth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC Opens
2012-07-19 17:18

Hu Jintao attended the opening ceremony and delivered an important speech

Announcing Chinese government's new initiatives to support Africa's peace and

development and promote China-Africa new strategic partnership

In the morning of July 19, 2012, the fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) opened in the Great Hall of the People.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, President of Benin Boni Yayi, President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh, Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Cote d'ivoire Alassane Dramane Ouattara, Prime Minister of Cape Verde Jose Maria Pereira Neves, Prime Minister of Kenya Raila Amollo Odinga, Egyptian President's Special Envoy Mohamed Kamel Amr, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as the foreign ministers and ministers in charge of foreign economic cooperation of the 50 FOCAC African member countries, Chairman of the Commission of the African Union (AU) Jean Ping and representatives of a number of African and international organizations attended the opening ceremony. ,

At 9:50 am, Hu received the guests at the north hall and warmly shook hands with them.

The conference started formally at 10:00 am.

In the warm applauses, Hu delivered an important speech with the title of Open up New Prospects for A New Type of China-Africa Strategic Partnership.

Hu Jintao welcomed the distinguished guests on behalf of the Chinese government and people and conveyed cordial greetings and good wishes of the Chinese people to the brotherly African people. He also extended best wishes for the full success of the conference.

He pointed out that FOCAC was set up in October 2000 in response to the call of the times. This initiative demonstrates the shared desire of the Chinese and African people to seek peace, cooperation and development in a changing world. Over the past 12 years, this mechanism of cooperation has been progressing and made remarkable achievements. The theme of the current Ministerial Conference is "build on past achievements and open up new prospects for the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership." China and Africa should draw a blueprint for promoting cooperation in the next stage and lay a solid foundation for making new and greater progress in growing China-Africa relations in the years ahead. China and Africa decided to establish a new type of strategic partnership when we met here six years ago at the FOCAC Beijing Summit. Since then, important progress has been made in realizing this vision thanks to the joint efforts of both sides. Facts have shown that the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership is the result of the continuous growth of the traditional friendship between the two sides, meets the fundamental interests of China and Africa and conforms to the global trend of peace, development and cooperation. It has inaugurated a new historical process of China-Africa relations and will embrace an even brighter future.

He noted that tremendous changes have taken place in the world since we met here six years ago. Significant achievements have been made of Africa's peace and development. However, Africa still faces major challenges in its development endeavor. The international community should continue to give high priority to enhancing peace and development in Africa and increase input in this area and help it meet the Millennium Development Goals at an early date.

He stressed that China and Africa share a common destiny and the Chinese and African people have always treated each other as equals and with sincerity and friendship, extended mutual support and pursued common development. No matter how the international landscape may change, China will never change its commitment to supporting Africa's peace, stability, development and unity. We will be a good friend, good partner and good brother of the African people forever. China and Africa should strengthen political mutual trust, expand practical cooperation, increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges, step up coordination and cooperation in international affairs and further develop FOCAC in order to open up new prospects for a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership.

He said that China will always remember and remain grateful from the bottom of the heart for the vigorous support and help the African countries and people have given to its development effort. China will stay committed to peaceful development. At the same time, we will endeavor to uphold world peace and promote common development. Within the next three years, the Chinese government will take measures in the following five priority areas to support the cause of peace and development in Africa and boost the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership. First, China will expand cooperation in investment and financing to support sustainable development in Africa. We will provide US$20 billion of credit line for African countries to assist them in developing infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and small and medium-sized enterprises. Second, China will continue to increase assistance to Africa and bring the benefits of development to the African people. We will build more agricultural technology demonstration centers as necessary, train 30,000 personnel in various sectors for Africa, offer 18,000 government scholarships, send 1,500 medical personnel to Africa and help African countries enhance capacity building in meteorological infrastructure and forest protection and management. Third, China will support the African integration process and help Africa enhance capacity for overall development. China will establish a partnership with Africa on transnational and trans-regional infrastructural development. Fourth, China will enhance the people-to-people friendship in order to lay a solid foundation of public support for enhancing common development. China proposes to carry out "China-Africa people-to-people friendship action", set up a China-Africa Press Exchange Center in China and continue to implement the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Plan. Fifth, efforts should be made to 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 and train more officials of peace and security affairs and peace-keepers for the AU.

He stressed finally that to open up new prospects for a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership and jointly build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity is our shared goal and responsibility. He called upon the guests to join hands and work for a bright future for all.

Egypt is the co-chair country of the FOCAC Ministerial Conference. Egyptian President's Special Envoy and Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr read President Mohammed Morsi's congratulatory message. Morsi said that FOCAC is an important platform for collective dialogue and an effective mechanism for pragmatic cooperation between Africa and China. It has achieved fruitful results and brought benefit to the African and Chinese people. Egypt, as the incumbent co-chair country, has conducted constructive cooperation with China. Egypt appreciates the positive contributions made by China to promoting Africa's peace, security and development. The two sides are totally able to open up broader prospects of the bilateral relations on the existing sound basis.

Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa which will be the co-chair of next FOCAC Ministerial Conference, Boni Yayi, President of Benin which holds the current AU presidency and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed the conference respectively.

Zuma said that Africa-China friendship enjoys a long history. The Africa-China strategic partnership is built on the basis of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation and reflects the spirit of South-South cooperation. During the 2006 FOCAC Beijing Summit, President Hu announced eight measures of the Chinese government to support Africa's development. Over the past six years, China has honored its commitment, which has made the international community fully understand that China cherishes its friendship with Africa and it is an important principle of China's foreign policy to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with Africa. In the new situation, African countries hope to strengthen cooperation with China in the fields of infrastructure construction, information and communication technology and energy for the sake of common development. He believes this conference will pave the way for Africa-China cooperation in the next few years. As the co-chair country of the next FOCAC Ministerial Conference, South Africa will work with China closely to promote the development of Africa-China relations.

Yayi said that the Chinese government and people have given valuable support and help to the African people for their cause of national independence and development over the years. The AU Conference Center built with the assistance of China is a new symbol of Africa-China traditional friendship. At present, African countries have stronger desire to work together to achieve peace, stability and development. They hope to step up cooperation with China to address the challenges of food security and sustainable development, enhance coordination in international affairs and push forward the international order in a more just and reasonable direction.

Ban Ki-moon said that China-Africa partnership is an important part of South-South cooperation. It brings opportunities for Africa and creates greater impetus for the world economy. He hopes that FOCAC will play a greater role to eradicate poverty, enhance Africa's self-development capacity, promote green economy and boost China-Africa people-to-people exchanges. The UN firmly supports China-Africa cooperation and is willing to work with China and Africa to promote lasting world peace, development and prosperity.

Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo attended the opening ceremony. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi chaired the conference.

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