Jia Qinglin and African Leaders Attend the Inauguration Ceremony for the AU Conference Center
On January 28, 2012, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Jia Qinglin attended the inauguration ceremony for the African Union (AU) Conference Center jointly with African leaders in Addis Ababa.
The brand-new Conference Center was immersed in a friendly and joyous atmosphere. Delegations of African countries gathered together in the conference hall. They all stood up as the ceremony started and the AU anthem and the national anthem of China were played.
Jia addressed the ceremony. On behalf of President Hu Jintao, the Chinese government and people, he extended warm congratulations to the AU, the African countries and people and expressed cordial greetings and gratitude to the African and Chinese engineers and technicians involved in the construction of the Center.
He said that the AU Conference Center is another gift presented by the Chinese government and people to the African countries and people. It demonstrates China's support for African countries' solidarity, development and integration process. As the symbol and miniature of the in-depth development of China-Africa relations in the new century, it will open a glorious chapter in the history of China-Africa pragmatic cooperation.
He noted that China and Africa enjoy a long history of profound friendship and the bilateral friendly and cooperative relations continue growing and being consolidated. In the new century, China and Africa, faced with new circumstances, are committed to building a new type of strategic partnership composed of political equality and mutual trust, win-win economic cooperation and cultural exchanges. Comprehensive progress has been achieved, which not only accumulates successful experience for South-South cooperation but also provides a strong guarantee for China and Africa to participate in global governance and maintain their rights and interests.
He stressed that the mutually beneficial and reciprocal economic and trade cooperation is the crucial foundation of China-Africa friendly relations. The Chinese government attaches great importance to developing economic and trade cooperation with Africa, actively promotes and deepens the bilateral cooperation in all fields and sincerely helps Africa to realize development and sustainable growth. China is Africa's largest trade partner and Africa is an important destination of overseas investment of Chinese enterprises. The investment from China has effectively boosted Africa's industrialization and modernization. The Chinese government unswervingly provides Africa with assistance which not only fuels Africa's economic development and social progress but also brings benefits to the African people.
Looking into the future, China and Africa have common development goals, sound cooperation foundation, huge complementarities and vast market potential and the bilateral economic and trade cooperation will embrace a better tomorrow although the recovery of world economy is volatile. We are willing to join hands with our African friends to face the challenges and lift China-Africa cooperation to a new level, he said.
The conference hall resounded with long applauses.
Addressing the ceremony respectively, AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and AU rotating president and President of Equatorial Guinea Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, on behalf of African countries and the AU, expressed gratitude to the Chinese government, people and all the builders participating in the construction of the Conference Center. They said that the building reflects China's deep friendship with Africa and firm support for its solidarity and growth. President Hu Jintao himself paid high attention and the Chinese government attached great importance to the project. Having overcome various difficulties, the Chinese builders completed the project effectively and efficiently as scheduled and fulfilled their commitment with tangible actions. This grand and modern building has far-reaching significance. It is not only a new role model of Africa-China friendly cooperation but also a symbol of Africa's rise. It re-ignites the hope of African people in Africa's future and encourages them to march forward on the development path chosen on their own more confidently and strive for peace, stability and prosperity on this continent which has long suffered poverty, backwardness, war and foreign invasion and was once forgotten and abandoned by many. A friend in need is a friend indeed. The friendship between China and Africa is deeply rooted in the same historical experience. China develops relations with Africa in the principles of mutual respect, treating each other as equals and mutual benefit, which are not only the words but also the actions of China. On the journey of Africa towards independence and development, China is always a sincere and reliable brother, friend and partner. African countries are determined to make joint efforts with China to create more showcases of mutually beneficial cooperation and write a new chapter of China-Africa friendship.
Jia Qinglin, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and Jean Ping presented awards to the Chinese builders who had made outstanding contributions to the construction of the Center. Later, Jia presented the golden key, a symbol of the Center, to the AU Commission on behalf of the Chinese government and people. Local people on the site celebrated this exciting moment by singing and dancing.
The AU Conference Center project is one of the eight measures of the Chinese government to strengthen cooperation with Africa announced by President Hu at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in November 2006. Located in Addis Ababa of Ethiopia where the AU is headquartered, the Center covers 132,000 square meters of land area and 50,000 square meters of construction area. It is composed of three parts, i.e. the office building, conference building and ancillary facilities. The main building is the 99.9 meters high and 20-story office building. As the largest project in Africa built with Chinese assistance and another historic monument of China-Africa relationship after the Tanzania-Zambia Railway, it is hailed as the milestone of China-Africa traditional friendship and cooperation in the new era.