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China - Wen Jiabao Attends and Addresses the Opening Ceremony of the 4th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

Wen Jiabao attends and addresses the opening ceremony of the 4th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

Declaring eight new measures of the Chinese government for the next three years to advance China-Africa cooperation

On November 8, 2009, the opening ceremony of the 4th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was held in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and leaders or senior officials from 49 FOCAC member states jointly attended the opening ceremony.

Wen emphasized that since its founding nine years ago, FOCAC has played a major role in guiding and promoting the development of China-Africa relations and become a bridge of friendship and a platform of cooperation between China and Africa. In the three years since the Beijing Summit in particular, the two sides have worked together to build the new type of strategic partnership featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges. Together, we have opened a new chapter in China-Africa cooperation. Both sides have enhanced political mutual trust and strengthened economic cooperation and trade. The increase in China's assistance to Africa has produced practical results. Both sides have also witnessed vigorous people-to-people exchanges.

Wen emphasized that it was not just a few years ago that China suddenly started its presence in Africa or Africa started its support for China. As early as in the 1950s and '60s, China and Africa fought shoulder to shoulder in the historic struggle against imperialism, colonialism and hegemony and worked side by side in the hard endeavor to revive our respective national economies. The Chinese government and people respect the right of African countries to independently choose their social systems and support the African people in exploring development paths that suit their national conditions. We firmly believe that Africa is fully capable of solving its own problems in an African way. The economic cooperation and trade between China and Africa are based on mutual benefit, win-win progress, openness and transparency. China has never attached any political strings to its support and assistance to Africa, and nor will it do so in the future.

Wen said China-Africa relations have withstood the test of international vicissitudes and maintained the momentum of robust growth. Our relationship is based on mutual support, particularly during times of adversity. It is guided by the core principle of mutual respect and equality. It is driven by our joint endeavor to pursue mutually-beneficial cooperation and common development. The world today is undergoing unprecedented changes and adjustments. Cooperation between us will enable us to bring out our respective strengths and achieve common development. Cooperation between us will encourage the international community to pay greater attention to Africa and help it attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at an early date. Cooperation between us will catalyze South-South cooperation and enhance the collective standing of developing countries in the international political and economic architecture. Cooperation between us will promote democracy in international relations and justice in the international order and contribute to the effort of building a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.

Wen said Africa is faced with various global challenges, including the financial crisis and climate change. Africa's effort to achieve sustainable development has been seriously threatened. China fully understands the difficulties and challenges facing Africa. We call upon the international community to take more concrete steps to support Africa's development. China is ready to deepen practical cooperation with African countries in diverse areas and push forward in an all-round way the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership.

Wen said the Chinese people cherish sincere friendship towards the African people, and China's support to Africa's development is concrete and real. Whatever change may take place in the world, our friendship with Africa will not change, our commitment to deepening mutually beneficial cooperation and achieving common development with Africa will not change, and our policy of supporting Africa's economic and social development will not change. During the next three years, the Chinese government will take the following eight new measures to strengthen China-Africa cooperation:

First, we propose to establish a China-Africa partnership in addressing climate change. We will hold senior officials' consultations with African countries from time to time, and enhance cooperation on satellite weather monitoring, development and utilization of new energy sources, prevention and control of desertification and urban environmental protection. We have decided to build 100 clean energy projects for Africa covering solar power, bio-gas and small hydro-power.

Second, we will enhance cooperation with Africa in science and technology. We propose to launch a China-Africa science and technology partnership, under which we will carry out 100 joint demonstration projects on scientific and technological research, receive 100 African postdoctoral fellows to conduct scientific research in China and assist them in going back and serving their home countries.

Third, we will help Africa build up financing capacity. We will provide 10 billion U.S. dollars in concessional loans to African countries, and support Chinese financial institutions in setting up a 1 billion U.S. dollar special loan for small and medium-sized African businesses. For the heavily indebted poor countries and least developed countries in Africa having diplomatic relations with China, we will cancel their debts associated with interest-free government loans due to mature by the end of 2009.

Fourth, we will further open up China's market to African products. We will phase in zero-tariff treatment to 95 percent of the products from the least developed African countries having diplomatic relations with China, starting with 60 percent of the products within 2010.

Fifth, we will further enhance cooperation with Africa in agriculture. We will increase the number of agricultural technology demonstration centers built by China in Africa to 20, send 50 agricultural technology teams to Africa and train 2,000 agricultural technology personnel for Africa, in order to help strengthen Africa�s ability to ensure food security.

Sixth, we will deepen cooperation in medical care and health. We will provide medical equipments and anti-malaria materials worth 500 million yuan to the 30 hospitals and 30 malaria prevention and treatment centers built by China and train 3,000 doctors and nurses for Africa.

Seventh, we will enhance cooperation in human resources development and education.
We will build 50 China-Africa friendship schools and train 1,500 school principals and teachers for African countries. By 2012, we will increase the number of Chinese government scholarships to Africa to 5,500. And we will train a total of 20,000 professionals of various fields for Africa over the next three years.

Eighth, we will expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges. We propose to launch a China-Africa joint research and exchange program, which will enable scholars and think tanks to have more exchanges and cooperation, share development experience, and provide intellectual support for formulating better cooperation policies by the two sides.

Wen pointed out that the 4th FOCAC Ministerial Conference will mark a new starting point in China-Africa relations. As long as China and Africa go hand in hand with an enterprising spirit and cooperate on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, we will seize opportunities and overcome challenges to take the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership to a new level, and make China-Africa friendship and cooperation even more fruitful.

Egyptian President Mubarak and other African leaders in their speeches praised that the FOCAC showcases the Africa-China traditional friendship and the spirit of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit and the forum is a role model for South-South cooperation. They said the cooperation measures announced at the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC have been implemented smoothly, effectively helping Africa's economic and social development and pushing for the remarkable progress of Africa-China relations. The eight new measures on cooperation with Africa announced by Premier Wen at this meeting will take Africa-China cooperation to a new stage. African nations cherish the traditional friendship and partnership with China and are ready to work with the Chinese side to well implement the new consensus and new measures, enhance dialogue, exchange and cooperation and offer mutual assistance for common development, in a bid to open up an even brighter future for Africa-China relations.

Following the opening ceremony, Wen, along with Mubarak and other African leaders, attended a photo exhibition on achievements of the follow-up actions of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and a photo exhibition on achievements of Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa.

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