African Union (AU) Chairman Joaquim Chissano has said that the cooperation between China and Africa is of great prospect.
Chissano, also president of Mozambique, made the remarks in a recent interview with Xinhua before the opening of the second ministerial conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum slated for Dec. 15-16 in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.
"I think the cooperation between the two sides is of great prospect and I hope that China could do a lot to help Africa out of poverty and gain development," said the AU chairman.
Talking about the cooperation in the political field, Chissano said that the political cooperation between the two sides is of long history and China has made great contribution to African people's struggle for political liberation.
The Sino-African cooperation on the basis of South-South cooperation will gain further development in the coming years, which will do good to the New Partnership for Africa's Development(NEPAD) program, he added.
Chinese companies are experienced in building roads, railways, bridges, reservoirs as well as telecommunication nets, and they could help Africa to develop its own infrastructure, Chissano stressed.
In Chissano's opinion, poverty is the major hindrance to Africa's development. Thus the AU introduced the NEPAD program to enable the African continent to be on the track of sustainable development.
The best way to help Africa is to support this program, he added.
As for the relations between China and Mozambique, Chissano said that he is optimistic about the bilateral cooperation in all fields.
The China-Africa Cooperation Forum was established three years ago with the framework of collective dialogue between China and African countries to promote peace and development on the basis of equality.
Adopted during the first ministerial meeting were two documents, namely the Beijing Declaration and the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development, creating the framework for China and Africa to build long-standing, stable and mutually beneficial relations.
Since the 2000 meeting, both China and Africa have worked toward implementing the forum's follow-up action.
China established a followed-up action committee consisting of 21 government departments in December 2000, while Ethiopia, Gabon, the Sudan and Zambia have also set up their follow-up action organizations.
The efforts by both China and African countries have been bearing fruit, with exchanges and cooperation between the two sides increasing rapidly.
The latest official statistics indicate that trade between China and Africa had grown to US$12.39 billion in 2002 from US$10.6 billion in 2000, and the figure for the first nine months of 2003 is US$13.39 billion, surpassing that of the whole 2002.
Chinese investors have already established 602 businesses in 49African countries, covering such areas as trade, industry, and agriculture.
Africans, including those from South Africa and Uganda, have also had their investment in China.
The main task of the second ministerial meeting is to review the implementation of the two documents passed during the first ministerial meeting, and discuss cooperation in such key areas as agriculture and human resources, and the prospects for development and exchanges in the future.
An action plan on the specific steps for cooperation between China and Africa over the next three years will be passed during the meeting.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is expected to attend the opening ceremony of the meeting and deliver a speech. Also attending will be Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and more than 10 other African leaders.
(Xinhua News Agency December 15, 2003)