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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Lin Songtian of China to South Africa at the Opening Ceremony of the Conference on Opportunities and Challenges of China-Africa Industrial Cooperation
2018/06/09

8 June, 2018

Hon. Deputy Minister Mr. Obed Bapela of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs,

Respected Acting Executive Director Professor Bohler-Muller of African Institute of South Africa, HSRC,

Your Excellency Ambassador Zhou Yuxiao, Chinese Ambassador for FOCAC Affairs,

Representatives from Chinese and South African think tanks and media, Dear Friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning! Welcome all of you to the Conference on Opportunities and Challenges of China-Africa Industrial Cooperation. I'm very happy to have such an opportunity to exchange with friends from Chinese and African thinks tanks and media on how to promote African industrialization. I also wish to thank the co-host the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in SA for their important contribution to this seminar through its thoughtful organization.

China has always been Africa's good friend of equality and mutual trust, and has been with Africa through thick and thin. We are happy to see that, more and more African countries have come to realize that, if Africa is not independent economically, it is hard to be independent politically; without economic development, Africa can never shake off poverty and conflicts.

China always believes that, development is the master key to all economic and social problems. It is also our strong belief that Only by realizing self-sustainable development, could Africa genuinely escape foreign interference and say "No" to the finger pointers. Only by realizing self-sustainable development, could Africa end poverty and conflicts, and achieve durable peace.

As we all know, industrialization is not only the indispensable force for the modernization of any country and nation, but also the inevitable path towards national strength and prosperity. We strongly believe that, to promote and support Africa to accelerate industrialization and agricultural modernization is the inevitable and the right choice for Africa to realize self-sustainable development and durable peace. It also serves the fundamental interests of the peoples of the world and is the common responsibility of the international community.

Ladies and gentlemen,

China's successful practice of reform and opening up over the past four decades offers African countries inspiration and a new choice as they pursue industrialization for self-sustainable development. Before 1980s, China was in far worse situations than many of the African countries in economic and social development. Our industrial foundation was extremely weak and everything was starting from scratch. Fortunately in 1978, the Communist Party of China with Comrade Deng Xiaoping at the core seized the historical opportunity of global industrial structural adjustment, and led China to a path of reform and opening up. Since then, China has maintained economic development as its central task, bravely opened up its market to the developed countries, and vigorously pursued socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics. In the face of new challenges, China has actively embraced them and swam bravely in the ocean of economic globalization. Through our relentless efforts, China has realized leapfrog economic and social development. In several decades, China has established a comprehensive industrial structure with enormous production capacity. China has been transformed from a country of abject poverty and subsistence to the world's largest manufacturer, the largest exporter of goods, and the biggest holder of foreign exchange reserve, China has averaged annual GDP growth rate of 9.5% in the past four decades. China's per capita GDP has increased from 156 US dollars in 1978 to 9,000 dollars in 2017. Over 700 million Chinese have been lifted out of poverty. Through reform and opening up, China has pioneered a new industrial development path suitable to China's own national conditions, creating a miracle in the human history of development.

We strongly believe, the 21st century is not only the century for China and Asia. It is also a century for Africa's rapid rising. Africa boasts rich natural resources, human resources and huge development potential. As economic globalization and the fourth industrial revolution continue to unfold, African countries will embrace new historic opportunities for industrialization. And more importantly, the pursuits of peace, cooperation and development have already become the common consensus of African countries and the African people. Today, AU is making active efforts to adopt and implement the 2063 Agenda. Politically, African countries are moving steadily towards unity for strength. And economically, remarkable progress has been made in the African Free Trade Area and economic integration. African countries have demonstrated unprecedented pioneering spirit in exploring development paths suitable to their own national conditions so as to achieve self-sustainable development and durable peace.

At the same time, we are also aware that African industrialization is confronted by three major bottlenecks, namely backward infrastructure, lack of professional and skilled personnel, and lack of capital sources. There are also challenges of governance, security environment, mindset backward on market economy and self-sustainable development. These are all major restraining factors and challenges for Africa in its pursuit of industrialization and self-sustainable development.

We also believe, whoever can help Africa overcome those challenges and breakthrough those bottlenecks, they are the true friends and reliable development partners for Africa. Today, we are very proud to say that, China has already become and will continue to remain Africa's most reliable friend and strongest development partner in its pursuit of self-sustainable development and durable peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are happy to see that, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) established in 2000 has already become a major platform for China-Africa unity and cooperation, and has become a leading and flagship forum in promoting international development cooperation with Africa. Thanks to the strong drive from FOCAC, infrastructure development, human resources development, governance exchange, and financial support have become major pillars underpinning China-Africa cooperation.

The Chinese President Xi Jinping instructed us that when conducting cooperation with Africa, we should always follow the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith, and uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests. The essence of his instruction is to closely combine China's development with the self-sustainable development of African countries, so as to achieve win-win cooperation for common development. In December 2015, during the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit, President Xi Jinping and African leaders have jointly opened up a new era for China-Africa win-win cooperation for common development. To help African countries breakthrough the three bottlenecks issues for development, President Xi Jinping announced Ten Major Cooperation Plans between China and Africa with a commitment of 60 billion US dollars, with an aim to support Africa accelerate industrialization and agricultural modernization process.

We are proud to see that thanks to our concerted efforts, remarkable progress has been made in the implementation of the outcomes of FOCAC Johannesburg Summit. Today, China has become the Africa's largest trading partner and the most important investor for infrastructure development. In accumulative terms, Chinese has invested over 100 billion US dollars in Africa. By the end of 2017, China has financed and built for Africa 6,200 kilometers of railways, 6,500 kilometers of road, 20 seaports, 20 bridges, over 80 power plants, more than 200 schools, and 80 plus stadiums. As part of our efforts to comprehensively support African countries in capacity building, every year, China offers over 10,000 government scholarships and over 50,000 training opportunities to countries across Africa.

We are very happy to see that, African countries are emerging rapidly. With the support from FOCAC, China-Africa production capacity cooperation is picking up speed, and a large number of flagship projects are emerging across the African continent, including railways, seaports, airports, industrial parks, and maritime industrial areas. Those projects have been extremely instrumental in accelerating African industrialization. Across the continent, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and many other African countries are competing each other, and have taken up the leading and demonstrating role in promoting African industrialization.

I often tell African and American friends to go to Addis Ababa, you will see what the Chinese are doing in Africa, and you will understand why we say the African continent is emerging. Ethiopia is one of the four pilot countries for China-Africa production capacity cooperation. The Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway is already in operation, and the industrial corridor along the railway is almost taking shape. Large numbers of Chinese businesses are now rushing into Ethiopia for business and investment, further lifting production capacity cooperation and industrial chain connection between China and Ethiopia. Ethiopia has for more than 10 years maintained high-speed growth, and has become Africa's largest textile exporter to the United States. When you go to Ethiopia, you will see that, most of the newly built infrastructures are financed and built by China, and you can rarely find infrastructures built or financed by the developed economies like the US, Europe or Japan. China has indeed become Africa's undisputed and unchallengeable strongest and most reliable cooperation partner.

We are happy to see that, China-Africa mutually beneficial cooperation has entered a new stage of transformation and upgrade. For China, our cooperation is shifting from being dominated by government-led assistance to being dominated by business investment and financing, from general merchandise trade to production capacity cooperation and processing trade, and from simple project contracting to investment, construction, operation, and financial cooperation. For Africa, more and more African leaders are embracing new development concept and mindset. They have realized that, development aid cannot help Africa achieve self-sustainable development. Africa needs to make full use its advantages in natural and human resources and the catching-up effect, and work actively to improve the investment environment, national development plan, policy incentives, legislative framework, governance capacity, and government service. Efforts need to be made to attract tourists and investors, so as to create more jobs, tax revenues, and foreign exchange. Only by doing so could African countries establish their own industrial system.H.E. President Museveni of Uganda is the one of such a great visionary leader. His Excellency said to China, what Africa needs is investment, tourists, and market access.

Of course, we have also noticed that some countries don't want to see Africa realize self-sustainable development and durable peace. As China steps up its efforts to promoting investment cooperation in Africa, some western countries become very nervous. They refuse to give money to support Africa to develop infrastructure and human resources. Still less, they smear China for creating African debt crisis, looting African resources, exploiting African people, and fueling corruption in Africa. They do so because they are worried that, once African countries realize economic independence with China's support, they will no longer be able to order African countries around as they wish. They are afraid of losing control over Africa.

When conducting cooperation with Africa, China firmly follows the five major cooperation concepts of common, intensive, green, safe and open development. We are committed to the principle of planning together, building together and sharing together, and seek to achieve win-win cooperation for common development. China will never repeat the old brutal path of looting and colonialism by the West, and China will never sacrifice Africa's environment and long-term interest for its own economic gain. We strongly call upon the United States and other western countries to earnestly and duly fulfill their historical and current responsibility and obligation for Africa, and work together with China to support Africa's early realization of industrialization and common peace and prosperity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year marks an important year for China-Africa relations as we will celebrate another historic event in early September-the FOCAC Beijing Summit. Leaders from China and African countries will once again gather in Beijing to sketch out a new blueprint for China-Africa win-win cooperation for common development. Our leaders will make new plans for a closer China-Africa community with a shared future in a new era, injecting new dynamism into China-Africa ties. The FOCAC Beijing Summit will focus on China and Africa jointly promoting the Belt and Road construction and building China-Africa community with a shared future. We have every reason to be confident that as the Belt and Road construction continues to reach Africa, more and more opportunities will emerge for China-Africa industrial cooperation. China is willing to join hands with South Africa and other African countries to synergize the Belt and Road initiative with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the AU 2063 Agenda, and national development strategies across the continent. It is the firm political commitment of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government, as well as the common aspiration of the Chinese people, to support Africa to accelerate industrialization and agricultural modernization, so as to achieve self-sustainable development and durable peace. Let us join hands and make new contributions to common prosperity of China and Africa.

To conclude, I wish today's conference a complete success! Thank you!

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