|Remarks by Foreign Minister Qin Gang at the Completion Ceremony for the China-aided Project of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention Headquarters|
Your Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to attend the completion ceremony for the Africa CDC headquarters, a flagship project of China-Africa cooperation announced by President Xi Jinping at the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018. Like the AU Conference Center, it is yet another landmark of China-Africa cooperation. At the outset, I wish to extend warm congratulations to the AU, and to the African countries and peoples. I also want to thank the AU Commission and the Ethiopian government for their strong support, and pay high tribute to the Chinese and African engineers and workers who have participated in the project.
I learned from my colleagues about the many challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the project during construction. But our two sides have surmounted the difficulties and topped out the buildings ahead of schedule. This is indeed a new miracle in China-Africa cooperation. I believe with the joint efforts of our two sides, the Africa CDC will make greater contribution to public health in Africa and the health and wellbeing of the African people. It will also write a new, splendid chapter in the history of China-Africa relations.
This is my first overseas trip, and my first visit to Africa and the AU headquarters as the Chinese Foreign Minister. This is also the 33rd consecutive year that the Chinese Foreign Minister visits Africa on the first overseas trip of the new year, which is a fine tradition of China’s diplomacy. With this opportunity, I wish to reiterate that strengthening solidarity and cooperation with African countries will always be a diplomatic priority for China. No matter how the international environment changes, China and Africa will always be a community with a shared future.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are in the 10th year since President Xi Jinping put forth, in 2013, the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and of pursuing the greater good and shared interests for China’s relations with Africa. Over the past decade, with the joint guidance and commitment of Chinese and African leaders, China-Africa relations have made historic achievements that impressed the whole world, and entered a new era of building a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future. President Xi Jinping has visited Africa four times. The FOCAC Summit has been held twice. Our two sides have worked together to advance the ten cooperation plans, eight major initiatives and nine programs. Our cooperation against COVID-19 has delivered good results. All this embodies the vibrant spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation.
China has remained Africa’s largest trading partner for 13 years in a row. Two-way trade in 2022 is expected to exceed 260 billion US dollars. Once again, China’s imports from Africa grow faster than its exports to Africa. Fifty-two African countries and the AU Commission have signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with China. Landmark projects like the AU Conference Center, the Africa CDC headquarters, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway and the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway keep emerging. Joint projects of highways, electricity, communications and ports span across Africa. Such cooperation has helped enhance Africa’s capacity for independent and sustainable development.
As the new year begins, everything takes on a new look. China will embark on a new journey to build a modern socialist country on all fronts, and the AU and African countries will also embrace the celebratory moment of the 60th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). At this new historical starting point, I wish to make a four-point proposal on the development of China-Africa relations.
First, let us intensify our in-person interactions and connectivity of ideas. The pandemic will be over, and we can see light of hope ahead. China will continue to follow the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and of pursuing the greater good and shared interests. We will expand exchange and cooperation with Africa in various fields and at all levels, including between the governments, legislatures, political parties, militaries and localities. We will encourage Chinese companies and people to come to Africa for investment and tourism. We will provide more facilitation to restore two-way personnel exchanges at a faster pace. African political leaders, AU Commission officials at various levels and Africans in the political, business and academic circles are most welcome to visit in due course. China supports South Africa in its rotating BRICS presidency, and supports Uganda in hosting the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement. China will work with Africa to further deepen experience sharing and mutual learning on governance and development, and firmly support each other on issues concerning our core interests and major concerns, to lay a solid foundation for building a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future.
Second, let us further deepen the friendly relations between China and the AU. The AU is one of the most influential intergovernmental organizations in the world. It is a banner of African countries seeking strength through unity and of developing countries pursuing progress in solidarity. Over the past six decades, the AU and its predecessor the OAU have led African countries in making proud strides on the path of development, revitalization and integration, demonstrating African strength and winning international acclaim. Both China and Africa have the right and the confidence to achieve greater development and modernization. China will provide Africa with new opportunities through Chinese modernization, and supports the AU in leading African countries in pursuing development paths suited to their national conditions. To help advance African integration, China will continue to work with African countries and the AU Commission to forge strong synergy between Belt and Road cooperation, the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping and Agenda 2063 of the AU, the African Continental Free Trade Area and the development strategies of African countries. China is the first country to support the AU in joining the G20, and will encourage the G20 to take robust steps to support a greater role of the AU and African countries in the global governance system.
Third, let us do more to upgrade and elevate China-Africa cooperation. Africa’s needs are the priorities in China-Africa cooperation. China will further study how to better align with Africa’s development strategies such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa and the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme. To give more support to Africa’s economic and social development, we will fully leverage the long-term strength of the Chinese economy, speed up the delivery of the outcomes of the eighth FOCAC Ministerial Conference, continue to expand China’s trade with Africa, promote high-quality development of China-Africa financing and investment cooperation, and boost the new dynamics in health, green development, the digital economy and other sectors. China makes no empty promises, still less presses others against their own will. When it is handed over to our African friends, the Africa CDC headquarters will be wholly run and managed by the AU without any interference from China. Should the African side have any need, we will do our best to provide support and help.
Fourth, let us stand firm in defending the unity and cooperation of developing countries. Today, our world, our times and history are changing in ways like never before. The collective rise of developing countries is irreversible, and the advent of an Asian century and an African century is no longer a distant dream. Both China and Africa should reinforce confidence, strength and self-reliance, uphold humanity’s common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, oppose hegemony, bullying, highhandedness and racial discrimination, and jointly safeguard true multilateralism and promote greater democracy in international relations. We should boost the representation and voice of developing countries, especially those of African countries, in the UN Security Council and other international organizations, pool greater strength for the cause of global development and security, and work together to make the global governance system more just and equitable.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Right behind us is the towering Africa CDC headquarters. It is a new monument built with the traditional friendship and hard work of Chinese and African brothers and sisters. It stands as an irrefutable proof to the world that China always supports Africa with concrete actions and that the China-Africa relationship is bound to have a brighter future.
During my trip, I visited the AU headquarters, and met with and held the eighth China-AU Strategic Dialogue with Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat. We had an in-depth and candid exchange of views on a wide range of issues of mutual concern and reached a lot of consensus. This has strengthened my confidence in the future of China-Africa relations and China-AU relations. I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the AU and Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat for the warm and friendly hospitality accorded to me and my delegation.
May Africa enjoy prosperity and its people happiness!
May China-Africa friendship last forever and our cooperation grow from strength to strength!