Chinese Premier Calls for Upgraded Version of China-Africa Cooperation

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang proposed Monday that China and Africa join hands to bring forth an upgraded version of their all-round cooperation.

Speaking at the headquarters of the African Union (AU) here in the Ethiopian capital, Li expounded China's Africa policy and reaffirmed Beijing's commitment to further deepening the China-Africa comprehensive cooperative partnership.

The Chinese premier, visiting Africa for the first time since taking office in March last year, listed four principles, outlined six areas and highlighted one platform for the Asian giant and the promising continent to realize the upgrading.

Now a land full of vim and vigor, Africa has reshaped itself into an important pole in world politics, a new pole in global economic growth and a colorful pole in human civilization, Li said.

In order to further consolidate bilateral cooperation, he suggested that the two sides stick to the four principles of treating each other sincerely and equally, consolidating solidarity and mutual trust, jointly pursuing inclusive development and promoting innovation in bilateral practical cooperation.

Noting that China and Africa now share more common interests and boast a stronger foundation for cooperation, Li proposed that the two sides seize the momentum and open a new chapter in bilateral cooperation.

The premier identified six areas -- industry, finance, poverty reduction, ecological protection, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security - for the two sides to make the leap forward.

With regard to industrial cooperation, Li noted the rapid growth of bilateral trade over recent years and urged the two sides to bring the volume to 400 billion U.S. dollars by 2020 and push China's cumulative direct investment in Africa toward 100 billion dollars.

China-Africa trade reached 210.2 billion dollars in 2013.

China is ready to expand cooperation with Africa in building road, rail, telecommunications, power grid and other infrastructure so as to help the continent realize regional interconnection, he said, adding that Beijing also encourages Chinese enterprises to form joint ventures with African counterparts in a bid to improve Africa's regional aviation industry.

The premier also depicted a dream of connecting African capitals with high-speed rail, saying that China is willing to use its world-leading technologies in this area to help make the dream come true so as to improve pan-African communication and development.

In the financial area, Li said China has decided to increase its loans for African countries by 10 billion dollars, which brings the total pledged amount to 30 billion dollars, and to expand the China-Africa development fund by 2 billion dollars to 5 billion dollars.x As to poverty reduction, China will train 2,000 agricultural technicians and management personnel for Africa in the coming five years, and tilt its assistance toward such public-welfare areas as drinking water and prevention and control of epidemics.

Stressing that ecological protection is a shared responsibility of all humanity, Li said the Chinese government will provide Africa with 10 million dollars of free aid for wild life preservation and promote joint research in protecting biological diversity, preventing and controlling desertification and promoting modern agriculture.

In respect of people-to-people exchanges, Li said China will carry out its African talent plan in an all-round manner and will provide African countries with 18,000 government scholarships and help them train 30,000 various professionals as scheduled.

As for peace and security, Li said China supports Africa to solve African problems in the African way and stands ready to assist Africa's capacity-building in such areas as peace-keeping, counter-terrorism and anti-piracy.

China, he said, will offer South Sudan another 50 million yuan (about 8 million dollars) of humanitarian aid to help deal with the humanitarian crisis in the African country.

Pointing out that the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation serves as an important platform for deepening bilateral relations, Li called for joint efforts to improve the mechanism and make it more pragmatic and efficient.

About 1,500 dignitaries from Ethiopia, the AU and other countries and international organizations listened to the address at the AU Convention Center. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma also spoke at the event.

Dlamini-Zuma said that Africa and China have a shared commitment to common destiny, and Africa is ready to work with China not only in poverty reduction but also in modernization.

Hailing Li's visit as a milestone, the African leaders agreed that China-Africa interaction is a classic model of win-win cooperation, and that the strategic partnership between them will grow ever stronger.

In his meeting with Dlamini-Zuma prior to their speeches, Li hailed the organization as a banner in leading African countries toward solidarity and progress, saying that China firmly supports Africa's drive for peace and development.

For her part, the AU chief saluted China as a true friend of Africa and stressed the AU Commission's continuous commitment to playing an active role in boosting the development of Africa-China relations.

After their speeches, Li, Hailemariam and Dlamini-Zuma visited a Chinese rail and aviation exhibition. Pointing out that China's rail and aviation equipments and technologies are advanced, highly cost-effective and well-reputed in the international market, he said China is willing to boost cooperation with Africa in the areas.

Among other activities on Monday, Li inspected a light-rail project in Addis Ababa together with Hailemariam. The Chinese-contracted project is the first of its kind in Ethiopia and even the entire eastern Africa.

In addition, China and the AU released a joint statement on comprehensively deepening bilateral friendly cooperation and an outline of a joint program for strengthening cooperation on poverty reduction.

Ethiopia is the first leg of Li's ongoing Africa tour, which will also take him to Nigeria, Angola and Kenya. After arriving in the Ethiopian capital on Sunday, he held talks with Hailemariam and the two leaders vowed to further boost bilateral cooperation.

Li's wife, Cheng Hong, is accompanying the premier in the foreign tour. On Monday, the professor paid a visit to Addis Ababa University, where she had diverse exchanges and interaction with the faculty and students and donated a batch of books and computers.


Source: Xinhua