China has always pursued the pro-Africa, pro-third world as well as anti-imperial and anti-hegemonic politics, said Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in Addis Ababa Monday.
During his speech in the opening ceremony of the Second Ministerial Conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, President Mugabe said that China is the fastest growing country in the global economy.
"China's politics have always been pro-Africa, pro-developing countries, anti-imperial and anti-hegemonic," he said.
He added that the significance of this forum inheres in China's pivotal role in global affairs together with Africa's acknowledged strategic importance in the international scheme of things.
He introduced the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) as Africa's own blueprint, which stresses that Africa recovers and grows mainly through its own efforts, and secondarily through partnerships with such well-meaning enterprises as they have in China.
"While there is a lot that the African can do and achieve by himself or by herself, there is a lot more that Africa can achieve through collaboration with other progressive countries around the globe," he said.
Although the development of intra-African trade should remain their goal, he contended, broader partnership with friendly developing countries such as China should be the focus and emphasis of their efforts.
He felt regret that it is taking too long for most African business people to realize that the biggest and fastest growing world market is in the east in stead of in the west, with the largest being China.
"This trend can only be revered through mutually beneficial partnership which the rich west has thus far denied us," he said.
Highlighted by the action-oriented spirit, the meeting, which gathered China and 44 African countries, is the first ministerial conference of the forum held on the African continent, and will be a significant event in the Sino-African relationship.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, his host counterpart Meles Zenawi and a dozen of other African heads of state and government attended the opening ceremony, and also present are Chinese and African foreign ministers and ministers in charge of the international economic cooperation, and representatives of some international and regional organizations as well.
The main agenda of this conference is to review the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development, two documents adopted during the first ministerial meeting of the forum held in Beijing in 2000.
It is also highlighted in the agenda to explore new initiatives and measures on the way toward Sino-African cooperation in such areas of priority as human resources development, agriculture, infrastructure development, investment and trade.
During the two-day conference, the participants will discuss and adopt the Addis Ababa Action of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (2004-2006).
Under the theme of "Friendship, Cooperation and Development" and in an action-oriented spirit, the participants will hold extensive and in-depth discussion and exchanges on how to further promote the establishment of a new, stable and long-term China-Africa partnership of equality and mutual benefit and all-around cooperation.
The First Ministerial Conference of the forum was held in Beijing, capital of China, from Oct. 10 to 12, 2000.
(Xinhua News Agency December 16, 2003)