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Xi Jinping Attends the Opening Ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and Delivers a Keynote Speech
2021-11-29 23:54

On the evening of November 29, 2021, President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) via video link in Beijing.

In the East Hall of the Great Hall of the People, the flag array composed of the national flags of China and 53 African countries and the flag of the African Union was magnificent and enthusiastic, demonstrating the everlasting friendship between China and Africa.

Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech titled "Uphold the Tradition of Always Standing Together and Jointly Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era".

Xi Jinping pointed out that this year marks the 65th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and African countries. Over the past 65 years, China and Africa have forged unbreakable fraternity in our struggle against imperialism and colonialism, and embarked on a distinct path of cooperation in our journey toward development and revitalization. Together, we have written a splendid chapter of mutual assistance amidst complex changes, and set a shining example for building a new type of international relations.

Xi Jinping stressed that the key to the questions why China and Africa have such a close relationship and so deep a bond of friendship lies in an everlasting spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation forged between the two sides, which features sincere friendship and equality, win-win for mutual benefit and common development, fairness and justice, and progress with the times and openness and inclusiveness. This truly captures the relations of China and Africa working together in good and hard times over the past decades, and provides a source of strength for the continuous growth of China-Africa friendly relations.

Xi Jinping pointed out that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of China's lawful seat in the United Nations. Let me express sincere appreciation to the many African friends who supported China back then. China will never forget the profound friendship of African countries and will remain guided by the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests. China will work together with African friends to promote and carry forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation from generation to generation.

Xi Jinping put forward four proposals on building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.

First, fighting COVID-19 with solidarity. We need to put people and their lives first, be guided by science, support waiving intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines, and truly ensure the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in Africa to bridge the immunization gap.

Second, deepening practical cooperation. We need to expand trade and investment, share experience on poverty reduction, strengthen cooperation on the digital economy, and promote entrepreneurship by young Africans and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. China welcomes African countries' active support and participation in the Global Development Initiative.

Third, promoting green development. We need to advocate green and low-carbon development, actively promote solar, wind and other sources of renewable energy, work for effective implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change and keep strengthening our capacity for sustainable development.

Fourth, upholding equity and justice. The world needs true multilateralism. Peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom are common values of humanity and represent the abiding aspirations of both China and Africa. We both advocate a development path suited to our national conditions and are both committed to upholding the rights and interests of developing countries. We both oppose intervention in domestic affairs, racial discrimination and unilateral sanctions. We need to unequivocally stand for the just propositions of developing countries and translate our common aspirations and interests into joint actions.

Xi Jinping pointed out that under the first three-year plan of the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035, China will work closely with African countries to implement the following nine programs:

First, the medical and health program. China will provide another one billion doses of vaccines to Africa, including 600 million doses as donation and 400 million doses to be provided through such means as joint production by Chinese companies and relevant African countries. In addition, China will undertake 10 medical and health projects for African countries, and send 1,500 medical personnel and public health experts to Africa.

Second, the poverty reduction and agricultural development program. China will undertake 10 poverty reduction and agricultural projects for Africa, and send 500 agricultural experts to Africa. China will set up a number of China-Africa joint centers for modern agrotechnology exchange, demonstration and training in China, encourage Chinese institutions and companies to build in Africa demonstration villages for China-Africa cooperation on agricultural development and poverty reduction, and support the Alliance of Chinese Companies in Africa for Corporate Social Responsibilities in launching the initiative of "100 Companies in 1,000 Villages".

Third, the trade promotion program. China will open "green lanes" for African agricultural exports to China in a bid to reach 300 billion U.S. dollars in total imports from Africa in the next three years. China will provide 10 billion U.S. dollars of trade finance to support African export, and build in China a pioneering zone for in-depth China-Africa trade and economic cooperation and a China-Africa industrial park for Belt and Road cooperation. China will undertake 10 connectivity projects for Africa, form an expert group on China-Africa economic cooperation, and give continued support to the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Fourth, the investment promotion program. China will encourage its businesses to invest no less than 10 billion U.S. dollars in Africa in the next three years, and will establish a platform for China-Africa private investment promotion. China will undertake 10 industrialization and employment promotion projects for Africa, provide credit facilities of 10 billion U.S. dollars to African financial institutions, and establish a China-Africa cross-border RMB center. China will exempt African LDCs from debt incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese government loans due by the end of 2021. China is ready to channel to African countries 10 billion U.S. dollars from its share of the IMF's new allocation of Special Drawing Rights.

Fifth, the digital innovation program. China will undertake 10 digital economy projects for Africa, set up centers for China-Africa cooperation on satellite remote-sensing application, and support the development of China-Africa joint laboratories, partner institutes, and scientific and technological innovation cooperation bases. China will work with African countries to expand Silk Road e-commerce cooperation, hold online shopping festivals featuring quality African products and tourism e-commerce promotion activities, and launch a campaign to market 100 African stores and 1,000 African products on e-commerce platforms.

Sixth, the green development program. China will undertake 10 green development, environmental protection and climate action projects for Africa, support the development of the "Great Green Wall", and build in Africa centers of excellence on low-carbon development and climate change adaptation.

Seventh, the capacity building program. China will help build or upgrade 10 schools in Africa, and invite 10,000 high-level African professionals to seminars and workshops. We will implement "Future of Africa - a project for China-Africa cooperation on vocational education", and start an employment "through train" scheme for African students in China. China will continue to work with African countries to set up "Luban Workshops", and encourage Chinese companies in Africa to create at least 800,000 local jobs.

Eighth, the cultural and people-to-people exchange program. China will support making all African countries having diplomatic ties with China approved destinations for Chinese tourist groups. We will hold African film festivals in China and Chinese film festivals in Africa, as well as a China-Africa youth services forum, and a China-Africa women's forum.

Ninth, the peace and security program. China will undertake 10 peace and security projects for Africa, continue to deliver military assistance to the African Union, support African countries' efforts to independently maintain regional security and fight terrorism, and conduct joint exercises and on-site training between Chinese and African peacekeeping troops and cooperation on small arms and light weapons control.

Xi Jinping finally emphasized that I am convinced that the concerted efforts of China and Africa will make this FOCAC Conference a full success, one that shall pool the mighty strength of the 2.7 billion Chinese and Africans and guide us toward a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future.

President Macky Sall of Senegal, the African co-chair of the FOCAC attended and chaired the opening ceremony. President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix Tshisekedi, President of Egypt Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, President of Comoros Azali Assoumani, President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attended the meeting via video link. Foreign ministers and ministers or representatives in charge of foreign economic cooperation affairs of 53 African countries, as well as representatives of some international and regional organizations, attended the meeting on site.

The African leaders attending the meeting fully affirmed the achievements of China-Africa cooperation in related fields since the FOCAC Beijing Summit, and highly appreciated China's provision of valuable assistance such as vaccines to African countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. They said that since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Africa and China 65 years ago, the two sides have always been sincere and friendly, united and assisted, trusting and respecting each other. The traditional friendship between Africa and China has withstood various tests and the Africa-China cooperation has achieved extraordinary historic achievements. The African side feels proud of this. President Xi Jinping put forward four proposals to promote the development of Africa-China relations and the nine programs to strengthen practical cooperation between Africa and China, once again demonstrating China's sincere willingness and firm support for helping Africa fight the pandemic and achieve green and sustainable development. The African side is willing to work with China to consolidate unity and friendship, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, and actively build the Belt and Road, usher in a new era of Africa-China relations, and build an Africa-China community with a shared future in the new era. The African side warmly congratulates China on the 50th anniversary of the restoration of its legal seat in the United Nations, and will continue to firmly adhere to the one-China policy and support China's great cause of reunification. The African side supports the Global Development Initiative put forward by the Chinese side and supports China in successfully hosting the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The African side is willing to work with China to safeguard multilateralism, strengthen international coordination and cooperation, safeguard the common interests of developing countries, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. Long live Africa-China friendship! Long live Africa-China cooperation!

Ding Xuexiang, Yang Jiechi, He Lifeng and other officials attended the opening ceremony.

Wang Yi attended the meeting in Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

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