Ladies and Gentlemen,
As the co-chair of the Second Ministerial Conference Addis Ababa 2003 of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, I would like to begin by extending my warmest welcome to the delegates from African countries, guests from international and regional organizations and all friends participating in this event.
As the host of the second ministerial meeting, the Ethiopian Government has done a great job in coordinating and preparing for this conference. On behalf of the Chinese Government, I want to express our sincere appreciation.
I started my career as a diplomat here in Africa, where I spent nearly ten memorable years working on this beautiful land and among the warm and friendly people of this great continent. I am therefore exceptionally pleased to get together with so many friends here in Addis Ababa to discuss our enhanced cooperation with the African nations.
Premier Wen Jiabao has, in his address, reaffirmed the new Chinese Government's commitment to the solidarity and cooperation between China and other developing countries including African countries. We look forward to working closely with the governments of African countries to bring our friendship and cooperation to a new high.
The creation and launch of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) three years ago marked a historic event in China-Africa relations. Thanks to the concerted efforts by both sides, the follow-up actions of the First Ministerial Conference have been successfully implemented with gratifying achievements. Now I would like to report to you the following:
First, the Forum as a mechanism has been improved steadily.
Leaders of China and African countries have all agreed to jointly make FOCAC a new platform for closer China-Africa cooperation. Inter-ministerial committee was set up between China and a number of African countries for coordinating the follow-up actions of the Forum.
The bilateral Ministerial Consultation in Lusaka, the Senior Officials' Meeting in Addis Ababa, and the adoption of the Procedures of the Follow-up Mechanism of the FOCAC were instrumental in making the Forum more standardized.
What is more, the African diplomatic corps in Beijing and the Chinese Follow-up Committee Secretariat have conducted fruitful collaboration.
Second, political exchanges and cooperation between China and African countries have been strengthened continuously.
To begin with, the exchange of high-level visits as well as interactions in all circles have become more frequent. Chinese leaders have visited Africa on 20 occasions and China has received more than 30 African Presidents, Vice Presidents, Prime Ministers and parliamentary leaders. Increasing exchanges at all levels have shown not only in our political, economic and trade relations, but in cultural, public health and education fields and among peoples as well.
In addition, bilateral dialogue and cooperation mechanisms have made steady progress. Such cooperation mechanisms on political dialogue between foreign ministries, joint economic and trade commission and joint commission for science and technology have been established by China and some African countries.
China supports Africa's efforts to safeguard regional peace and stability and has provided assistance in cash and kind to relevant regional organizations and countries. China has sent its first group of 218 peacekeepers to Africa to join the UN peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which will be followed by another group of personnel to the UN peacekeeping operation in Liberiain recent future.
China supports Africa's endeavors to strengthen solidarity and self-reliance. To showcase our support for the launch of the African Union, the Chinese leaders have sent messages of congratulations and dispatched a high-level delegation to participate the first AU Summit. China also supports the implementation of NEPAD and calls for closer international attention to and support for Africa's development.
China and Africa have continued to stand by and work with each other in international affairs. At the UN and other international forums, as well as in the ongoing multilateral trade talks, China supports Africa's propositions and keeps strengthening consultation and cooperation between the two sides, with a view to safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of the developing world.
In the meantime, the vast number of African countries stick to the one-China policy and support China's reunification. When the Chinese people were fighting SARS in the past spring, African countries came to our aid with sympathy and solidarity of one way or another, embodying the friendly sentiments of governments and peoples in Africa, which are well received and appreciated by the Chinese Government.
Third, bilateral cooperation in areas of economic and social development has increased steadily.
The Chinese Government has made good on its promise undertaken at the first ministerial meeting by completing ahead of schedule greater reduction of African debts. By June 2002,Chinahad signed debt exemption protocols with 31 African nations, cancelling 156 African debts totaling 10.5 billion RMB yuan. At the same time, China has been actively urging the international community to honor their debt reduction promises without further delay.
China-Africa trade has been growing year by year. The total trade volume reached US$12.39 billion in 2002, eight times that of the 1991 figure. In the first ten months of this year, two-way trade continued to rise to US$14.98 billion. To address the problem of trade imbalance, China has actively increased its imports from African countries by holding African products exhibitions and promotional fairs in China aimed at facilitating their entry into China's market. In recent years, exports to China from African countries have gone up substantially, resulting in steady dwindling in their trade deficit with China.
China-Africa cooperation in investment is accelerating. China has thus far signed bilateral investment protection agreements with more than 20 African countries and set up "China Trade and Investment Promotion Centre" in 11 countries .As a result of the Chinese Government's policy to encourage competitive Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa, 117 new China-invested enterprises have been established in 49 African countries, ranging from processing, manufacturing, transportation, telecommunication and resources development, to agriculture and trade. Some African countries, such as South Africa, have kept increasing their investment in China and expanding technological exchanges and cooperation.
China has continued to provide, to the extent possible, assistance to African countries with no political conditions attached. China has signed 245 additional agreements with African countries on economic assistance, accounting for 44 percent of the total cash value of China's additional foreign aid program in that period. The proportion of grant has further increased. Under this program, China has helped build in some African countries a number of urgently needed infrastructure and welfare projects such as roads, urban water supply systems, schools, hospitals and others.
China-Africa cooperation in human resources development has made remarkable headway. The Chinese side has set up the African Human Resources Development Fund, sponsored a variety of training courses geared to African professionals and trained nearly 7,000 African personnel in a wide range of areas.
Besides, China's Follow-up Committee has sent Chinese experts to six African countries for regional training courses on "malaria prevention and treatment", "maize farming technique" and "applied solar energy technology", etc. These courses have yielded fruitful results.
In addition, China has made contribution to the African Capacity Building Foundation initiated by the IMF for the construction of new technical aid centers in Africa, and sponsored nearly 20 vocational courses under the framework of Technical Cooperation amongst Developing Countries (TCDC) exclusively for African trainees.
China-Africa cooperation in financial sector has grown stronger. The People's Bank of China has continued to contribute to the African Development Fund (ADF).China is now the largest shareholder of PTA Bank outside the region and has taken active steps to subscribe to shares of the West African Development Bank. China has worked with the African Development Bank in providing agricultural technical assistance to Africa and hosted joint high-level workshops on economic reform and development strategy.
In agricultural field, with preparatory work for pilot cooperation projects in countries concerned well under way, China has sent agricultural study missions to some African countries and both sides have expressed intent of cooperation.
China has increased the number of scholarships for African students in China. Some Chinese universities have established contact with their African counterparts for cooperation on laboratory and computer centre construction.
What is more, China has signed or renewed agreements on dispatching Chinese medical teams with 40 African countries, while pledging continued provision free of charge of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and other hospital materials, and cooperation with Africa in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
China-Africa cooperation in tourism has made its impressive start, with Egypt, South Africa and Morocco already becoming the destinations of Chinese tourists.
Our friends in Africa have put forward many constructive suggestions on how to expand the pragmatic cooperation between the two sides. On their part, they have faithfully acted on the agreements signed by the two sides, shouldered their due obligations to facilitate the smooth running of the many cooperation projects in the economic and social development.
I find it hard to list everything the Forum has done in the past three years, but we have reason to state here that the Forum has not let down the expectations of the Chinese and African peoples. Against the new backdrop, the Forum has an increasing role to play in bringing about a new type of partnership between China and Africa featuring long-term stability, equality and mutual benefit and all-round cooperation. The principles of enhanced consultation and expanded cooperation laid down by the Forum are of far-reaching significance in charting the future development of China-Africa friendship and cooperation.
At present, popular concern for world peace and desire for development have never been stronger. However, uncertainties in international situation have gone on unabated, with traditional and non-traditional security threats intertwining, the gap between the North and South widening and the challenges brought by economic globalization to the developing countries, African countries in particular, looming even larger. The collapse of the WTO talks in Cancun has reminded people of the renewed urgency in considering the strengthening of South-South cooperation, North-South dialogue, as well as the establishment of a new international economic order that is fair and rational.
Here, I would like to brief you on some steps to be taken by the Chinese Government within the framework of the Forum,
First, we will grant some African countries tariff-free treatment for their export to China. To help the LDCs in Africa expand export, increase revenue and alleviate poverty, China has decided to exempt import tariffs for certain commodities of these countries so as to facilitate their entry into the Chinese market. Negotiations to this end will begin in 2004.
Second, we will pump more resources into the African Human Resources Development Fund. China has decided to launch the 2004-2006 China-Africa Inter-governmental Human Resources Development Plan under the Fund. The 33 percent increase in the fund available will allow China to hold 300 training courses in three years for some 10,000 African professionals in various fields. At the same time, China will provide more scholarships for African exchange students.
Third, we will step up cooperation in tourism by encouraging more Chinese citizens to travel to Africa. China has decided to grant the eight applying countries the Approved Destination Status. They are:Mauritius,Zimbabwe,Tanzania,Kenya,Ethiopia,Seychelles,TunisiaandZambia.
Fourth, we will hold a series of events, including the "2004 China-Africa Youth Carnival", "Meet in Beijing" an international art festival focusing on African arts and the "Voyage of Chinese Culture to Africa", with a view to promoting better understanding between the peoples, especially the younger generations of the two sides.
We are gratified to see that the China-Africa Business Conference that started yesterday has attracted such active participation from both Chinese and African business communities. This is a fresh attempt by the Forum to promote business cooperation between the two sides. Represented at the meeting are many Chinese business people well-known at home and internationally. Let me wish the conference a complete success. Let me call on all business participants to work harder in their cooperation so as to benefit peoples both in China and Africa with their new successes.
Mr. Chairman, before concluding my report, I have the privilege, as mandated by the Conference, to brief you on the draft document to be submitted to, and hopefully adopted by the Ministerial Conference, i.e. the draft Addis Ababa Action Plan (2004-2006) of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum. The draft has been jointly prepared by the Chinese and African sides on the basis of many rounds of consultations. It has been deliberated and endorsed by our Chinese and African colleagues at the Senior Officials Meeting. The proposed Action Plan, which builds on the Beijing Declaration and the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development adopted by the Forum's First Ministerial Conference, sets out the guiding principles, key targets and practical measures for China-Africa cooperation in the key areas in the next three years. The proposed Action Plan has six parts.
The first part is Preamble, which introduces the proceedings and background of our current meeting.
The second part covers Political Affairs, Peace and Security. It records the consensus between China and African respect of high-level exchanges and political dialogue, peace and security as well as non-traditional security issues and outlines the way forward for our future cooperation in the next three years.
The third part relates to Multilateral Cooperation. It reaffirms the desire of China and Africa for stronger cooperation on international affairs and for collaboration between the Forum and the AU/NEPAD.
The fourth part touches on China-Africa cooperation in Economic Development, such as agriculture, infrastructure, trade, investment, tourism, debt relief, development assistance, and natural resources and energy development.
The fifth part focuses on China-Africa cooperation in Social Development, such as human resources development, education, medical care and public health, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
The sixth part is the Forum's Follow-up Mechanism, which outlines the Two Sides' decision that the Third Ministerial Conference will be held in China in three years' time and the Senior Officials Meeting for that purpose one year earlier.
Now, in my capacity as Co-Chairperson of the Conference, I hereby submit to you the draft Addis Ababa Action Plan (2004-2006) of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum for your consideration and endorsement.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The first FOCAC meeting in 2000 adopted the Beijing Declaration and the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development. This time, we will discuss and hopefully adopt the Addis Ababa Action Plan (2004-2006).With the three documents as our guide, let us work hand in hand and side by side to ensure the well being of the Chinese and African peoples, and to bring about an ever better world.