Ladies and Gentlemen,
It's a great honour and privilege for me to be addressing such informed and learned students at your University. In this new era, The People’s Republic of China and Africa share increasingly common interests and have a growing mutual need.
Building strong ties between The People’s Republic of China and Africa will not only promote development of each side, but will also help cement unity and cooperation among developing countries and contribute to establishing a just and equitable new international political and economic order.
To enhance this new type of strategic partnership, The People’s Republic of China and Africa are collaborating in the following fields:
Firstly, we are deepening our political relation of equality and mutual trust by maintaining high-level contacts through mutually beneficial visits to enhance mutual political trust and traditional friendship.
Secondly, we are broadening a win-win economic cooperation by giving full play to our respective strengths through enhanced economic and trade ties.
Thirdly, we are working to expand cultural enrichment through people-to-people exchanges to increase mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples, particularly between the younger generations.
Fourthly, we are promoting a balanced and harmonious global development by enhancing South-South cooperation and promoting North-South dialogue.
Fifth, we continue to strive to strengthen cooperation and mutual support in international affairs by upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respecting diversity of the world and promoting democracy in international relations.
As you may well know, The People’s Republic of China has provided consistent political and material support for the liberation struggle in most parts of Africa. This fact is much appreciated and remembered by political elites in Africa.
It is also important to remember that the support of African states in the General Assembly was a crucial component in the success of the People’s Republic of China in its long struggle to regain the permanent seat in the Security Council in 1971. It is important to remember the strategic political underpinning for the relationship between the People’s Republic of China and Africa.
Currently, The People’s Republic of China is supporting Africa in its efforts to implement the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). NEPAD is a socio-economic programme for fostering economic growth and development for the African continent. In general, the NEPAD programme embraces the principles of regional integration, good governance, public private partnerships and conflict prevention. NEPAD’s primary objectives are to eradicate poverty; to place African countries, both individually and collectively, on a path to sustainable growth and development; to halt the marginalization of Africa in the globalization process and to enhance its full and beneficial integration into the global economy.
NEPAD has 8 major sectors, namely, Agriculture & Food Security, Infrastructure (Water & Sanitation, Transport, Energy, ICT), Human Resources Development (Education and Health), Science and Technology, Trade & Market Access, Environment & Climate Change and Culture & Tourism, Governance and Capacity Development and Gender Development.
It is important to note that the priorities of NEPAD are mainstreamed into the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs are a set of eight development goals inherent in the Millennium Declaration adopted in September 2000 by Member States of the United Nations. These goals are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development – with the year 2015 as the target date.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Africa's economies were on the rise when the economic and financial crisis hit in 2008. Growth was running high on the back of commodity price increases, with African exports almost doubling between 2000 and 2006. Yet the economic and financial crisis has jeopardized this progress, resulting in a severe investment slowdown, particularly in oil and mineral production. From 5.2% of annual GDP growth in 2008, the continent’s economies slowed to a growth rate of merely 1.7% in 2009. The IMF projects a healthier growth rate of 4% in 2010 however, signaling a relatively rapid recovery from the crisis.
Africa remains marginalized in global trade. In 2008, it accounted for 3.5% of world merchandise exports, which however does exceed its share in global GDP. At the same time, African trade is more outward-oriented than in any other continent – only 9.6% of its total merchandise trade is intra-regional trade. Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Africa has increased markedly in recent years. Expressed in current prices, Africa received ODA of $43.5 billion in 2006, spurred by massive debt relief efforts. ODA fell to $39 billion in 2007, but reached a new record high of $44 billion in 2008.
Between 2000 and 2009, sub-Saharan Africa achieved one of the largest-ever reductions in deaths from measles. The region showed the fastest growth in primary school enrolment: from 58 to 74 per cent within a decade, mainly through the abolition of school fees. Malawi doubled agricultural production. Millennium Villages are showcasing the great impact of smart, targeted interventions.
We have seen how to make the most of new technologies. We are beginning to reap the benefits of new national development policies. We have seen that when you empower women, with an integrated strategy for health care, education, agriculture and small business, you can change the world. The message is clear: with the right policies, adequate investment and international support, enormous challenges can be overcome.
Yet progress has been very uneven. Most African countries will not achieve most of the MDG goals by 2015. We need to reenergize our efforts to support African countries to achieve these goals. That means more resources. For our part, the United Nations is supporting Africa at the regional level through the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM), a framework for consultations aiming to fast-track NEPAD programme implementation system-wide. The 10th Session of the RCM took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2009.
In 2006, United Nations assistance to the continent was complemented with the adoption of the Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union. The Programme framework was conceived as the United Nations overall strategic framework for cooperation with the African Union. So far, all efforts are being made to align United Nations cluster activities in support of the African Union with the Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union, the strategic plans of the African Union Commission and the NEPAD Agency, and relevant decisions of the African Union and regional economic communities and outcomes of African Union sectoral ministerial bodies.
To address some of these challenges, the Secretary-General established in 2008 a high-level panel to consider how the United Nations can support African Union peacekeeping operations. The third major initiative of the United Nations to support Africa’s development is the MDG Africa Steering Group. On ODA volume to Africa, the Steering Group suggested that $72 billion a year is required to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
This objective can be met by, first, fully implementing the pledge expressed at the G-8 summit in Gleneagles to double ODA to Africa and, second, with additional support from countries, such as The Peoples Republic of China.
It is in this regard that I take note of the commitments made in support of Africa’s development needs, that is:
A China-Africa partnership to address climate change by building 100 clean energy projects across Africa;
Enhancing cooperation with Africa in science and energy by building 100 joint demonstration projects in science and technology; and offering 100 post-doctoral fellowships for research in science and energy.
China would provide USD$10 billion in concessional loans to Africa, part of which would support Chinese facilities working with small and medium businesses (SMBs).
For highly indebted poor and least developed African countries having diplomatic relations with China, the People’s Republic of China would cancel all debts expiring at the end of 2009.
In agriculture, China would increase the number of Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centers to 20; send 50 agriculture technical teams to Africa; and 2,000 agricultural personnel from Africa would be trained in China.
In the health sector, China would provide equipment valued at 500 million Yuan to hospitals built by the Chinese, and would train 3,000 doctors for Africa.
In education, it would build 50 China-Africa Friendship Schools; train 1,500 principals and teachers; increase the number of scholarships to 5,500; and train 20,000 professionals across various disciplines over three years (2010-2012). There would also be a joint China-Africa Exchange Program.
The year 2009 was a significant year for promoting economic cooperation with Africa. Let’s continue with this spirit of economic cooperation that would lead to higher developmental levels in both Africa and the People’s Republic of China.
I thank you for kind attention.