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Deepen Result-Oriented Cooperation and Promote Common Development
2012-08-15 02:17

Speech by H.E. Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China at the Opening Ceremony of the Fourth Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs


Beijing, 18 July 2012

Your Excellency President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea,

Your Excellency President Issoufou of Niger,

Your Excellency Prime Minister Neves of Cape Verde,

Your Excellency Prime Minister Odinga of Kenya,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

This is the third time for me to attend the Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs. I am glad to see that exchanges and cooperation between the Chinese and African business communities have enjoyed such dynamic growth. On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to extend warm congratulations on the opening of the Fourth Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs and warm greetings and best wishes to conference participants.

When I made my first official overseas visit as China's premier in 2003, I went to Africa. During that visit, I attended the opening ceremony of the Second Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and visited Ethiopia. My visit to seven African countries in 2006 took me across the African continent, and the moving scenes of that visit still remain fresh in my mind. During the visit, I wrote a poem entitled I Have Come Home. In 2009, I visited Africa again and attended the opening ceremony of the Fourth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC. At that time, Africa had been hit by the international financial crisis. On behalf of the Chinese government, I announced eight new measures to strengthen China-Africa cooperation and support Africa's development. It demonstrated China's firm resolve to jointly meet the challenge with Africa.

Despite volatilities in the international situation in recent years, friendly cooperation between China and Africa, like a towering tree, has weathered the storms and continued to grow. It has not only yielded rich fruit, but also enhanced our friendship and mutual trust, which is more precious than gold. History has shown time and again that China and Africa are forever good friends, good partners and good brothers.

China-Africa business ties have seen exciting growth both in size and in structure.

- Bilateral trade has grown rapidly with improved trade mix. For three years in a row, China has been Africa's biggest trading partner country. In 2011, bilateral trade rose to US$166.3 billion, up 83% over 2009. Africa's exports to China doubled in three years with increasing varieties. African steel and copper products, fertilizers and other finished industrial products and more and more African agricultural products are available on China's market.

- Notable progress has been made in cooperation in financing, and cooperation projects launched by China better meet Africa's development needs. The international financial crisis has put African countries under huge pressure of funding shortage. The Chinese government delivered on its commitment of providing US$10 billion of lending of a preferential nature to Africa and supported Chinese financial institutions in increasing commercial loans to Africa. In launching cooperation projects, while ensuring economic returns, we give higher priority to their social benefits. We have completed a number of projects to increase production capacity and improve people's well-being. These projects have enhanced Africa's capacity for self-development.

- Chinese investment in Africa, made in increasingly diversified areas and ways, has registered strong growth. By June 2012, China had invested US$45 billion in Africa, including over US$15 billion of direct investment. Manufacturing, the financial sector and construction account for 60% and mining about 25% of Chinese investment in Africa. Over 2,000 Chinese companies of different types are operating in 50 African countries, and more than 85% of their staff are Africans. The building of China-Africa trade and economic cooperation zones is making smooth headway, driving Africa's industrial growth.

- China has stepped up assistance to Africa, with greater emphasis on promoting sustainable development. In the past three years, China's assistance to Africa has almost doubled. More assistance has been made in improving the well-being of the people, poverty reduction, disaster preparedness and mitigation and capacity building. China has built new schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and water supply facilities for Africa. We have sent a large number of agricultural specialists and medical personnel to Africa. We have trained a total of 21,000 African personnel in various fields. China provided emergency food aid several times to countries hit by famine in the Horn of Africa and other parts of Africa. We offered assistance to and have completed a group of agricultural demonstration centers and nearly 100 clean energy projects in Africa. These efforts have boosted Africa's capacity to meet challenges such as food security and climate change.

At the same time, we need to be aware that in the process of the rapid growth of China-Africa economic cooperation, some long-standing issues are yet to be thoroughly resolved and some new problems have emerged. I know that you hope that China will buy more finished products made in Africa and high value-added products from Africa, make more investment in broader areas, provide more funding, step up technology transfer and better address the concerns of African businesses. These hopes and concerns are justified, and the Chinese government takes them very seriously. We are working with African countries to find effective solutions to these issues. We have full confidence in China-Africa business cooperation, and I am sure that the future holds ever greater promise for our business ties.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

Facing up to the international financial crisis, the African countries have endeavored to promote integration and strengthen international cooperation. Africa has maintained stability and growth and has become an important force in promoting changes and adjustment in the international arena. China hails what Africa has achieved and has full confidence in Africa. Today, China and Africa enjoy growing common interests and have a stronger foundation for cooperation. Guided by the principle of sincere friendship, equality, mutual benefit and common development, China will continue to work with African countries to grow even closer economic and trade relations.

-We should strengthen inter-governmental consultation and coordination. This is important for our efforts to achieve sustained and sound growth of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation. China is ready to work with governments of African countries to adopt feasible mid and long-term cooperation programs in keeping with our respective national conditions and development strategies so that our industries will be in a better position to complement and work with each other. We should improve related laws and regulations as well as channels of communication and dialogue so as to provide a legal framework to ensure deepening of cooperation.

- We should promote balanced development of trade between China and Africa. China has decided to implement a special plan on trade with Africa. We will send investment and trade promotion missions to Africa in due course and increase imports from Africa. We support the holding of more product fairs to help African companies promote their best products. China will further open its market to African countries, and give zero-tariff treatment to more products of tariff-lines from the least developed African countries having diplomatic ties with China.

- We should further intensify investment cooperation. China will follow a government-guided, business-led and market-driven approach for win-win progress. We will lay greater emphasis on the need to improve people's well-being, create jobs, protect Africa's eco-environment and respect local cultures and customs. We will pay more attention to pr