As former Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, it was a pleasure to be back in the beautiful city of Nairobi as an observer of TICAD VI. I wish to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to the government and people of Kenya for their hard work in hosting the conference and the warm hospitality extended to the Chinese delegation.
I came to gain first-hand knowledge of Africa’s cooperation with other partners in the international community and to engage with both old and new friends in Africa for greater cooperation. Now that the job is done, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts during this trip.
First, both China and Japan are working with Africa as part of the international endeavour to help the continent. We support the diversification of Africa’s partners and hope they will leverage their respective strengths and combine forces to support enduring peace and rapid development in Africa.
There is never a shortage of conferences and promises for Africa, and yet action and implementation have not always followed. We hope Africa’s partners will honor their commitments with real actions and deliver tangible fruits to the African people.
Second, the African friends I met this time all spoke highly about the historical significance of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held late last year.
They believe the 10 cooperation plans President Xi Jinping proposed at the Summit fit perfectly well with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and truly meet the needs and aspirations of African countries and people in pursuing development.
I updated our African friends on the implementation of the outcomes of the Summit, especially the numerous fruits of the recent coordinators’ meeting on implementing the follow-up actions of the Johannesburg Summit.
It is roughly estimated that more than 240 cooperation agreements of various kinds have already been signed between China and Africa over the short span of six months since the conclusion of the Summit, involving over US$50 billion.
I reaffirmed China’s commitment to its pledges. Despite a subdued global economy and development challenges facing both China and Africa, the two sides will not cut back efforts to implement the outcomes of the Summit as our commitment to win-win cooperation and common development will not change. I am fully confident in the timely implementation of all outcomes of the Summit.
Third, China and Africa are family. Every time we meet, we feel naturally close to each other. Over the long course of history, China and Africa have remained good friends, good partners and good brothers through thick and thin.
The secret recipe for the ever-lasting vibrancy of this relationship is sincerity, mutual respect, and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. We hope other partners of Africa will also listen carefully to Africa’s voice and fully respect Africa’s will.
Today’s Africa is committed to seeking strength through unity, pursuing independent development, and taking charge of its own future. No one should expect to impose its own will on Africa. This will not be welcomed by Africa or supported by China.
Fourth, Africa’s cooperation partners should focus on promoting Africa’s development as the common objective. To this end, we hope to see constructive cooperation that fosters mutual learning and healthy competition, as this serves the development of Africa and others countries around the world.
(Zhang is China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs)