Keynote Speech at the Belt and Road Dialogue for China-Africa Cooperation
Amb. Liu Yuxi, Head of Chinese Mission to the African Union
Addis Ababa 30 May 2019
Honorable Ms. Amani Abou Zeid, AUC Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy,
Honorable Mr. Albert M. Muchanga, AUC Commissioner for Trade and Industry,
Honorable Mr. Raila Odinga, the AUC Chairperson's High Representative for Infrastructure Development,
Honorable Mr. Zhai Dongsheng, Director General, China Center for Promoting the Belt and Road Initiative of the National Development and Reform Commission,
Dear Ambassadors, Representatives of Diplomatic Corps and International Organizations based in Addis Ababa,
Entrepreneurs, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
We are gathered here to discuss China-Africa cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative and the interface between the BRI and Agenda 2063. First of all, allow me to extend a warm welcome to all the guests on behalf of the Mission of the People's Republic of China to the African Union.
Today's dialogue focuses on Africa's connectivity, digital economy, energy and industrial development, and aims to provide a platform for China and Africa to jointly address the challenges facing the development of infrastructure, human and financial resources and for Chinese and African businesses to explore cooperation opportunities. I am looking forward to sincere discussions that will build consensus to contribute to a better future of China-Africa cooperation under the BRI.
Today's dialogue coincides with the entering into force of the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. The AfCFTA is a landmark achievement in Africa's economic integration, it is also an important part of China-Africa cooperation under the BRI. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the AU and its member states on this special occasion and wish you greater success on the path of peace and development.
Ladies and gentlemen, Dear Friends,
Since it was proposed five years ago, the BRI has received wide-spread attention and support from the International Community. Recently, the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing, attaining over 100 bilateral and multilateral cooperation documents, 283 practical results and cooperation projects valued at more than US$ 64 billion.
Under new circumstances, the bursting vitality of cooperation under the BRI lies in our perseverance in common consultation, joint construction and shared results. By holding up the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual win in accordance with multi-polarization and economic globalization, the BRI is rooted in the people's yearning to build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity, and envisages a community with a shared future for mankind. It is a road of prosperity and openness featuring consensus and aspirations of all the participants.
Africa is a natural and historical extension of the BRI. Zheng He, the Chinese navigator of the Ming Dynasty in the early 15th Century, traveled along the ancient Maritime Silk Road to African countries including Kenya and Somalia, bringing with his fleet silk, porcelain and Chinese tea. In the 21st Century, China and Africa are enjoying an ever-closer relationship with their common historical mission and development targets, the ancient Silk Road has become a cooperation bridge linking the two sides in their striving for prosperity and development. We are glad to acknowledge that 39 African countries and the African Union Commission have signed BRI documents with China. A large number of projects involving railways, roads, bridges, airports and seaports and industrial parks are being implemented, bringing genuine benefits to Chinese and African peoples and enriching the China-Africa Comprehensive Strategic and Cooperative Partnership.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
Africa is an indispensable part of the international cooperation under the BRI. China and Africa should work together within the framework of the BRI and FOCAC to promote policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people affinity, and orient BRI cooperation on a path of high-quality development.
Firstly, policy coordination is a platform to strengthen strategic cooperation. The BRI features openness, inclusiveness and transparency with no narrow-minded geopolitical calculations in closed-circuit groupings. China is willing to join hands with Africa to use our respective advantages and strengths to build more synergy between the BRI, Agenda 2063, UN Sustainable Development Goals and the development strategies of African countries. We welcome partners to pitch in to build a multi-layered cooperation architecture that contributes to the development of Africa's economic and social development.
Secondly, facilities connectivity serves as a catalyst for boosting regional linkages. Infrastructure are the arteries of economic integration. Based on Africa's development needs and the principles of governmental guidance, corporate initiative and market economy, China sticks to common, intensive, green, secure and open development ideas to strengthen top-level design for China-Africa cooperation under the BRI, and pursues the implementation of sustainable and high-quality key projects in transport, energy, ICT and industrial development. The ultimate goal is to build Africa's economic corridors and transport arteries, cultivate new engines for economic development and improve Africa's endogenous development capacity.
Thirdly, unimpeded trade broadens the spheres of opening-up and win-win. Free trade and regional economic integration are in line with the prevailing historical trend. Trade protectionism and economic hegemony which advocate the policies of beggar-thy-neighbor and benefiting oneself at others' expenses will send the human race back to isolated islands which will eventually dry up the ocean of the world economy. China resolutely supports trade liberalization and facilitation, and is committed to building an open world economy. We will cooperate with African countries through the BRI and help Africa to integrate into the global value and industrial chain, and further open our doors to Africa and welcome African businesses to participate in various expos to enjoy the dividends of unimpeded trade and market.
Fourthly, financial integration contributes to China-Africa cooperation. China-Africa cooperation in financing and investment is growing rapidly. Abiding strictly by the rules of the market, China attaches no political conditions and seeks no political self-interests in its cooperation with Africa. China stands ready to provide financing for China-Africa BRI cooperation through the BRI special loans, the Silk Road Fund, China-Africa Development Fund, China-Africa Industrial Capacity Cooperation Fund, and the Special Loans for the Development of Africa's Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises. We also look forward to working with international and African financial institutions to innovate in investment and financing models to address the issue of capital deficit facing Africa's development.
Fifthly, people-to-people affinity is a link facilitating inter-civilizational exchanges. Though different in complexion and languages, Chinese and African peoples have demonstrated their ability to coexist in harmony and appreciate each other's uniqueness in inter-civilizational exchanges and mutual learning. Cooperation under the BRI advocates a people-centered new path of international engagement that prefers dialogue to confrontation, and seeks partnership and non-alignment. We intend to build a bridge for equal treatment and harmonious coexistence between different civilizations. China is willing to expand cooperation with Africa in the areas of culture, education and tourism, and will create more platforms for the exchanges between youth, women, media and think tanks, so that the hearts of Chinese and African peoples will be closer.
Ladies and gentlemen, Dear Friends,
Businesses are the immediate participants and builders of the BRI. Business representatives present today have made great contributions to the development of China-Africa relations. I hope Chinese and African businesses will take the policy dividends and investment opportunities unleashed by the BRI, and devote themselves to Africa's economic and social development and uplift China-Africa cooperation to a higher level. Chinese businesses should stick to the righteous idea of justice and benefits to transfer technologies, development experiences and create employment, so that Africa's drive to achieve endogenous and sustainable development can be closely combined with China's own development, which will ultimately promote mutual benefits, win-win and common development.
The contemporary world is undergoing changes unforeseen in the past century. The 1.3 billion Chinese people are striving to build a moderately prosperous society and pushing ahead with a new round of high-level opening-up. The 1.2 billion African people are working tirelessly for the African dream of economic prosperity, national rejuvenation and social progress. I firmly believe that if China and Africa can join hands in cooperation under the BRI, greater progress will be made to keep China-Africa cooperation on a steady path to long-term development.
Last but not least, let me wish this dialogue a big success.