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Diplomatic Priorities
Representing the People
UPDATED: March 12, 2010 NO. 11 MARCH 18, 2010
Diplomatic Priorities

China-Africa relations

China-Africa relations have entered a stage of sound development. The Beijing summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was held in Beijing in 2006. Chinese and African leaders came together to discuss how to push forward cooperation. At the summit, President Hu Jintao announced eight measures to enhance practical cooperation between China and Africa on behalf of the Chinese Government. A large part of these eight measures has now been completed and some are near completion. I believe the summit and the eight measures President Hu announced have raised China-Africa relations to a new and much higher level.

The fourth ministerial conference of FOCAC was held last November in Sharm el-Shaikh. Premier Wen Jiabao attended the opening ceremony of the conference and explained China's proposals on enhancing cooperation with African countries. His statement was warmly received and supported by the various countries attending the conference. Premier Wen announced eight new measures for enhancing China-Africa cooperation.

Currently the various follow-up measures to the ministerial conference are well on track. As far as I am aware, good progress is being made in debt cancellation and tariff exemption. The China-Africa Science and Technology Partnership Program has been officially inaugurated, and the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Program will also soon start. I believe the various programs will all be implemented and that China-Africa cooperation will become ever more fruitful.

I have noted that there are some people internationally who are unhappy with the development of China-African relations and who keep making an issue out of China-Africa energy and resource cooperation. In fact, China's oil imports from Africa only account for 13 percent of Africa's total oil exports. The figures for Europe and the United States are each above 30 percent. China accounts for only one sixteenth of the total external investment in Africa's oil sector. We are far behind the United States and European countries.

We support other countries' cooperation with African countries in the energy sector on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. I see no reason for other countries to oppose China carrying out equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with Africa. Moreover, China cooperates with resource-rich and resource-poor African countries. I want to underline that Africa belongs to the African peoples. African people are the masters of the African continent and all other people are only guests. I believe guests should respect the will and freedom of their hosts in choosing their cooperation partners and friends.

I believe that if one wants to be a true friend and cooperation partner of African countries, one should do more concrete and positive things and save the rhetoric. China's cooperation with Africa has helped African countries transform their latent advantage in energy and resources into real advantage in development. We have also helped African countries improve their infrastructure by building railways, roads and bridges. All these have brought real benefits to the African people.

Not long ago President Rupiah Banda of Zambia said, "No one can deny the contribution China's investors have made to Africa: They are the people who truly help us." President Paul Kagame of Rwanda remarked that China's investments and loans have brought in what Africa needs. I believe these are fair statements.

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