It gives me
great pleasure to greet participants in this Second Ministerial
Conference of the Forum on China-Africa cooperation, and to celebrate
the long and lasting friendship and cooperation between China
Interactions between China and Africa go back many centuries,
when sailing boats crossed the Indian Ocean carrying goods and
fostering cultural exchanges between the two continents. In the
modern era, China was a consistent supporter of the African liberation
struggle, and African nations were firm friends of China in the
United Nations and other multilateral fora. Today, as the presence
of the Chinese Prime Minister and many African leaders at your
conference so clearly demonstrates, the relationship between China
and Africa remains strong.
At the Millennium
Assembly in 2000, world leaders articulated a new compact of shared
responsibilities to accelerate development and to eradicate poverty,
enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals. For their part,
through the adoption of the New Partnership for Africa Development
(NEPAD), African leaders have expressed a renewed resolve to rescue
their continent from intermittent conflicts, environmental degradation
and repressive governance, steering it towards a new era of peace,
democracy and development.
In that endeavour,
Africa's friendship with China remains of vital importance. In
peace and security, China has steadfastly supported Africa within
the Security Council, and provided material support for MONUC
and now in Liberia.
In 2000, the
South Summit called attention to the need for developing countries
to share effective development solutions within their borders
through South-South cooperation. The same need was echoed at the
Brussels Conference on Least Developed Countries in 2001, and
at the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development and the
Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.
its support to infrastructure development, health, education,
agriculture, commercial exchanges and many other areas throughout
Africa in countries such as Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde,
Central African Republic, Comoros and Mauritius has remained
true to its commitment to South-South cooperation. Much of China's
assistance has been on favourable terms, and has often been found
particularly relevant to the needs of the recipients.
or cancelling 10.5 billion Yuan of debt in favour of 31 African
countries, China is also living up to the commitments made at
the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development.
If the same
spirit is brought to meeting other challenges such as ensuring
food security and fighting HIV/AIDS China can help Africa
make real steps towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
can help China too. The emerging markets of Africa offer huge
investment opportunities to Chinese private sector. The vast and
rich natural resources of the African soil are in need of the
Chinese technology and know how, to be exploited and transformed
in a sustainable way. The proposed China-Africa Business Council
will serve as an efficient forum for this type of cooperation.
Through the work of its Funds and Programmes, the United Nations
will support your renewed commitment to South-South cooperation,
and will spare no effort to back any initiative that may contribute
decisively to the reduction of poverty.
I wish you
a very fruitful conference.