Ambassador Li Jie's Article "Forum on China-Africa Cooperation – Strong Propeller for Future Development" Published by Zambian Mainstream Media

Source:MFA 2018-08-29


On 20th August, the article titled "FOCAC: Strong Propeller for Future Development" by H.E. Mr. Li Jie, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, was published on Zambia Daily Mail, a local mainstream newspaper. Following is the full text of the article:

In two weeks' time, H.E. President Edgar Lungu will attend the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). This will be his second visit to China, after the state visit in 2015. H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping, President of China, will hold a bilateral meeting with H.E. President Edgar Lungu.

The FOCAC Beijing Summit is under the theme of "win-win cooperation and join hands to build a closer community with a shared future for China and Africa". The Chinese side and the African side will endeavor to combine the theme of the Summit with the joint construction of the "Belt and Road", the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, the Agenda 2063 of the African Union as well as the development strategies of various African countries such as the Seventh National Development Plan of Zambia, to chart new blue print for win-win cooperation and open up new prospects for common development.

For decades, China and Africa have treated each other with sincerity and friendship. Indeed, we are already a community with a shared future and common interests, featuring solidarity and win-win cooperation.

China, like African countries, has a painful history of foreign colonization and being exploited and oppressed by foreign powers. During the era of poverty in the last century, China and Africa's leaders of the old generation including Chairman Mao Zedong and Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, shared a common destiny based on the common colonial encounters, development tasks and political demands. They established a profound brotherly China-Africa and China-Zambia friendship, and have created many monuments between China and Africa, China and Zambia such as TAZARA.

Since the beginning of the new century, especially the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit in 2015, China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership has developed rapidly. H.E. President Xi Jinping has put forward the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith in conducting China's relations with Africa, and the values of friendship, justice and shared interests. China respects Africa, supports Africa, gives priority to justice and refrains from seeking interests at the expense of justice. We have closely combined Africa's economic independence with China's own development to create a model of south-south cooperation.

Moreover, China is willing to be the sincere and reliable partner for Africa, helping Africa to solve the bottlenecks of independent sustainable development, such as insufficient infrastructure, shortage of talents and funds.

In 2017, China-Africa trade volume exceeded 170 billion USD, and trade with China accounted for 20% of Africa's foreign trade. The stock of China's direct investment reaches more than 40 billion USD. The industrial parks, power stations, communication towers which are constructed by China rise straight from the ground. The roads and railways project have made great achievements, and the interconnectivity of the African continent has greatly improved. Many remote rural areas have realized their long-cherished wish of open to traffic. Chinese companies have transferred the experience and technology to the local people, created millions of jobs, significantly promoted the industrialization and agricultural modernization of African countries.

As an important platform for collective dialogue and cooperation between China and African countries, China and Zambia have been the practitioners, promoters and beneficiaries of the mechanism of FOCAC.

Under the framework of FOCAC, China and Zambia cooperation are increasing in the fields of infrastructure, mining, agriculture, manufacturing, and has formed a multi-level and in-depth developing cooperation pattern. A few weeks ago, H.E. President Edgar Lungu attended the commissioning of the project of "Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages" granted by China at a primary school in Eastern Province. He commended the project for benefiting 500 remote villages in Zambia, not only bringing information and facilities to the people in these remote areas, but also broadening their minds. After the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit in 2015, a series of important projects such as cornmeal processing plants, the Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital expansion, the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport expansion have been implemented one by one, bringing tangible benefits to the Zambian people.

The upcoming FOCAC Beijing Summit will create three opportunities for Zambia:

Firstly there will be a historical opportunity to synergize the development strategies. The "Belt and Road" Initiative advocated by China adheres to the principle of "adapting to Africa's own development, not attaching any political conditions, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation". By strengthening international cooperation, all countries could promote complementary advantages and achieve common development. Nearly 30 African countries including South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda have already joined the "Belt and Road" Initiative. Zambia is located in the center of the region, enjoys obvious geographical advantages and has the potential of becoming a key player in the "Belt and Road" Initiative as well as a regional hub for connectivity. The combination of the "Belt and Road" Initiative and the Seventh National Development Plan of Zambia will provide a new platform and new opportunities for China-Zambia practical cooperation.

Secondly there will be an important opportunity for the transformation and upgrading of the cooperation model. With the in-depth promotion of China-Zambia economic and trade cooperation, the construction and operation of industrial parks, the transfer of processing and manufacturing industries, and financial services have gradually become new growth points, which are gradually changing the current models of engineering contracting, general commodity trade, and mining investment. China actively encourages its companies to increase direct investment and upgrade cooperation models. As the world's second largest importer and consumer, China will import more than 10 trillion USD of goods and services in the next five years, and the expansion of Zambia's export to China is at the right time.

Thirdly there will be a rare opportunity for people to people exchanges. There are nearly 4,000 Zambian students studying in China, and nearly 1,000 people go to China for training every year. China is willing to further discuss its experience on governance with Zambia, continue to strengthen exchanges in the fields of culture, education, tourism, promote sub-national exchanges between the two countries, so as to bring the two peoples closer.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. There is a Chinese saying illustrating China's growth as the world's second-largest economy, which goes that "Developing Is an Unyielding Principle". Only sustained, healthy and stable economic and social development can effectively reduce poverty, increase employment and improve people's well-being.

Africa is a vibrant continent. The average age of the Zambian population is less than 30 years old. What Zambia lacks is not labor, land or markets, but capital and technology. Some people worry that Zambia-China cooperation under the framework of FOACAC as well as the "Belt and Road" initiative would increase Zambia's debt. China has a strict assessment and approval process for the financing. All funds are supported by specific projects, which are beneficial to industrialization, agricultural modernization and Smart Zambia, the healthy development of the country's economy and the improvement of people's lives. Like the Zambians, the Chinese are also concerned about the efficiency of funds. China's investment and financing in Zambian is not only a reflection of the China-Zambia friendship, but also China's identifiable confidence on Zambia's economic and social prospects.

There is an English saying "if you want to go fast, walk alone; and if you want to go far, walk together". Our Zambian friends say that "Lende n'kukankhana", "Akaboko, kakonka Akabiye". The corresponding proverb in Chinese is "many hands make light work".

I firmly believe that, with the joint efforts of China and Zambia leaders, the FOCAC Beijing Summit will draw a beautiful blueprint for the China and Zambia common development and prosperity.


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