Work Together to Write a New Chapter of China-Africa Friendship
—Address by H.E. Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
At the Welcoming Rally
Held by People from Various Sectors
In Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam, 16 February 2009
Your Excellency President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, I am delighted to have this opportunity to meet with you, friends from various sectors in Dar es Salaam during my visit to this beautiful country of Tanzania. Let me begin by conveying to our friends present here and to the brotherly Tanzanian people the warm greetings and best wishes of the 1.3 billion Chinese people. I also wish to thank President Kikwete and the Tanzanian Government for the thoughtful arrangements and warm hospitality.
Tanzania is one of the cradles of mankind. The Tanzanian people have a glorious tradition and have made important contributions to the victory of the African people in gaining national independence and fighting against apartheid. In recent years, under the leadership of President Kikwete, Tanzania has worked hard with “New Zeal, New Vigor, and New Speed” to grow its economy, improve the well-being of the people, maintain political stability, make continued progress in development, and play an important role in African and international affairs. It is renowned as the “oasis of peace” in Africa. We rejoice at the achievements of Tanzania and we sincerely wish the brotherly Tanzanian people new and even greater success in the future.
As an old Chinese saying goes, “Nothing can separate people with common goals and ideals, not even mountains and seas.” In spite of the long distance between us, leaders and people of our two countries have engaged in friendly exchanges since the 1960s and forged a profound friendship during Africa’s struggle for national liberation. Over the past 45 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, both sides have attached great importance to the growth of our relations. China and Tanzania have had close high-level contacts, enhanced political mutual trust and expanded practical cooperation in a wide range of areas. Our relationship has become a model for China-Africa cooperation and South-South cooperation. Yesterday, President Kikwete and I had an in-depth exchange of views and reached broad agreement on how to further our bilateral relations. We signed agreements on economic and technological cooperation. I had the pleasure to attend the completion ceremony of the Tanzania National Main Stadium. This large multi-functional sports facility, which was built with assistance of the Chinese Government, will become a new landmark of friendship between our two countries.
Yesterday, I went to the Chinese Experts Cemetery in Majohe Village to pay my respects to the 69 Chinese experts and technicians who were laid to rest there. They gave their lives to the development of Tanzania and, in particular, to the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway. The youngest among them was only 22 years old. The Chinese Government and people will always cherish their memory and will never forget their contribution to our friendship with Tanzania.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is the sixth time for me to set foot on the land of Africa. Every time I come, it’s like coming back home. And every time I talk to our African friends and listen to your views on China, China-Africa relations and world affairs, I get new inspirations and food for thought.
In the 1950s and 1960s, people of China and Africa fought shoulder-to-shoulder against the colonial rule in order to achieve national liberation on the African continent. This was followed by our cooperation in various forms on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. Now in this new century, we are working together to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and bring about development and rejuvenation of China and Africa. China-Africa friendship has travelled a glorious path in the past half century and more. Similar historical experiences and shared goals have tied our destinies together and enabled our relationship to withstand the test of time and changes in the international situation. I wish to reiterate here that the Chinese people have always cherished our traditional friendship with Africa and we will continue to do so in the future. We will always view African people as our all-weather friends whom we can fully trust and count on. We will forever remain good brothers and good partners of the African people.
At the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2006, leaders of China and African countries agreed to develop a new type of strategic partnership featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges. It marked a new page in the annals of China-Africa relations. In the past two years and more, thanks to our joint efforts, China and Africa have further increased political exchanges and enhanced strategic mutual trust. We have given each other understanding and support on major issues of our respective concern. Our cooperation in the economic, trade and other fields continues to deepen. A large number of important cooperation projects have been launched or completed. For the very first time, our two-way trade exceeded 100 billion US dollars last year. Our cultural and people-to-people exchanges are flourishing, as we have increasingly frequent cultural, educational, youth, tourist and non-governmental interactions.
At the Beijing Summit, I announced on behalf of the Chinese Government eight policy measures to strengthen practical cooperation with Africa and support African countries’ development. It is heartening to see that the implementation of these measures is well under way. China has substantially increased its assistance to Africa, exempted tariffs on some African exports to China and basically completed the debt cancellation plan. The China-Africa Development Fund is up and running. China has begun the construction of the conference center for the African Union (AU), and has made good progress in building hospitals, malaria prevention and treatment centers, agricultural technology demonstration centers and rural schools in Africa. Youth volunteers and senior agricultural experts from China have arrived and started their work in Africa. Progress in all these areas has brought tangible benefits to the people of Africa and offered an even brighter prospect for China-Africa cooperation.
The year 2008 was an eventful and momentous year for China. We will not forget that immediately after the massive earthquake in Wenchuan, Sichuan Province, our African friends expressed sympathy to the Chinese Government and people, and many African countries gave generous assistance to our relief efforts in spite of their own difficulties. Your support strengthened the courage and confidence of the Chinese people to prevail over the natural disaster. We will not forget that the successful torch relay in the run-up to the Beijing Olympic Games in this very city, the famed “House of Peace”, promoted the noble and pure Olympic spirit. We will not forget that African friends have consistently given us firm support on Taiwan and Tibet-related issues as well as other major issues concerning China’s sovereignty and core interests. All these are vivid examples which show that the Chinese and African people are true friends who have weathered storms together and shared weal and woe. Here, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, I wish to express once again our heartfelt thanks to the brotherly African people.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The world is undergoing major changes and adjustments. There is a growing trend toward a multi-polar world, and economic globalization continues to gather momentum. The pursuit of peace, development and cooperation has become the call of our times. The international situation is generally stable. On the other hand, however, destabilizing factors and uncertainties are clearly on the rise in international political and economic landscape. The international financial crisis triggered by the sub-prime mortgage crisis is worsening. It has rapidly spread from some parts of the world to the entire globe, from developed countries to emerging markets and developing countries, and from the financial sector to the real economy. It has grown into a severe and widespread international financial crisis rarely seen in history. The impact of the crisis on economies around the world is still deepening and its grave consequences will be felt more acutely in the days to come. It has put developing countries in a particularly disadvantaged position. Many African friends are concerned that in the face of the daunting challenge of the financial crisis, their international development partners may scale back aid, debt relief and investment in Africa. At the G20 Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy held in Washington last November, I appealed on behalf of the Chinese Government to the international community to pay greater attention to the damage of the crisis on developing countries, especially the least developed ones, and do all it can to minimize the damage. The international community, developed countries in particular, should assume due responsibilities and obligations, continue to deliver on their aid and debt relief commitments, maintain and increase assistance to developing countries and effectively help them maintain financial stability and economic growth. They should take concrete steps to help developing countries, especially those in Africa, overcome difficulties and improve the external environment necessary for the development of these countries.
Both China and African countries belong to the developing world. We see each other as important strategic partners. China fully appreciates the wishes and aspirations of African countries and supports Africa’s efforts to secure peace and stability and meet the MDGs at an early date. During times of adversity, it is all the more important for China and Africa to support each other, work in concert and tide over the difficulties together. Let us work together and focus our efforts on the following key areas:
First, strengthen solidarity and mutual assistance to jointly meet the challenge of the international financial crisis. We know full well the difficulties we face at home; we are also keenly aware of the difficulties faced by our African friends. On behalf of the Chinese Government, I would like to solemnly undertake that we will earnestly follow through on the various measures announced at the Beijing Summit. We will continue to increase assistance to Africa and cut debts owed by African countries as our ability permits. We will expand trade and investment and strengthen practical cooperation with Africa. We are also willing to increase exchanges and cooperation with African countries to jointly fend off financial risks.
Second, enhance mutual trust and cement the political foundation for traditional friendship. China is ready to have closer high-level exchanges with African countries and strengthen strategic dialogue and consultations with you by taking full advantage of the various consultation mechanisms at different levels so as to enhance mutual understanding and trust between us. China firmly supports the efforts of African countries, the AU and other regional organizations to safeguard state sovereignty and independently resolve African issues. We will continue to be actively involved in UN peacekeeping operations in Africa and play a constructive role in addressing conflicts and hot-spot issues and maintaining peace and security on this continent.
Third, raise the level of practical economic cooperation and trade on the basis of reciprocity and mutual benefit. China will continue to promote trade with Africa, accommodate Africa’s concerns as best as it can, and adopt preferential measures to increase imports from Africa. The Chinese Government encourages and supports the efforts of more and more established Chinese companies to invest in Africa, create more jobs for the local people and transfer more technologies to their African partners. We also encourage Chinese companies in Africa to shoulder more social responsibilities and forge amicable relations with the local communities. As for problems that may arise from our cooperation, we want to properly resolve them through consultations with our African friends on an equal footing so as to maintain the larger interests of our friendly cooperation.
Fourth, expand people-to-people exchanges and deepen cultural cooperation. The purpose of growing China-Africa relations is to serve the Chinese and African people and fruits of our cooperation should be shared by all our people. We are ready to increase exchanges with African countries in culture, education, health, sports, tourism and other fields. We want to forge closer links among young people, women, non-governmental groups, media organizations and academic institutions of the two sides, and enhance human resources cooperation. In this way, the China-Africa friendship will take a deep root in the hearts of the people.
Fifth, work closely together and strengthen coordination in international affairs. We will intensify cooperation with African countries in the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and other multilateral institutions and jointly meet such global challenges as climate change, food security, poverty alleviation and development. We also wish to take part in the formulation of international economic, financial and trade rules and build a more equitable and reasonable international economic order together with African countries. China appreciates Africa’s desire to increase its representation and say in reforming the international financial system and supports AU’s participation in the G20 financial summit.
Sixth, enhance coordination and jointly promote the further development of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. We are ready to strengthen institutional building of the Forum and bring into full play its role of giving political guidance to the overall China-Africa relations. We will continue to have full coordination with African countries to comprehensively implement all follow-up actions of the Beijing Summit. We will work with African countries to make good preparations for the Fourth Ministerial Conference to be held in Egypt in the fourth quarter this year and ensure its success.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The year 2008 marked the 30th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up program. Over the past thirty years, China has successfully realized the historic transformation from a highly centralized planned economy to a vibrant socialist market economy, and from a closed or semi-closed society to one that fully embraces the world. China has achieved sustained and rapid economic growth, marked progress in social development programs and moderate prosperity for its people as a whole. China is a big developing country with a population of 1.3 billion. What it has achieved in the reform and opening up endeavor is in itself a significant contribution to world peace and development. We are keenly aware, however, that China remains the biggest developing country in the world. A huge population, weak economic foundation and uneven development are the basic features of the country. The problems and difficulties that we encounter in the course of development are rarely seen elsewhere in terms of their scale and complexity. To build a well-off society in an all-round way and at a higher level that benefits the over one billion population, to basically achieve modernization of the country and to ensure common prosperity for all the Chinese people, we still have a very long way to go and we still need to make persistent and unyielding efforts.
Since last year, due to the impact of the international financial crisis and the notable slow-down of the world economy, China has encountered more difficulties in economic development. In the face of the situation, we strengthened macroeconomic regulation and swiftly adjusted our policies. Our primary task now is to maintain steady and relatively fast economic growth and to this end, we have rolled out an array of policy measures to boost domestic demand and promote economic growth. This will not only lend a strong impetus to China’s economic development but also stimulate world economic growth. We will continue to take effective measures to ensure steady and relatively fast growth of our own economy and play a constructive role in promoting stability and development of the world economy.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, I see many young faces here. Earlier in my career, I was engaged in youth affairs for many years and I always feel a special bond with the young people. Both President Kikwete and I highly value the youth exchanges and cooperation between China and Tanzania and between China and Africa as a whole. The China-Africa friendship that we enjoy today is the result of concerted efforts of people of several generations from both sides. The future of this friendship will be in the hands of our young people. People of the younger generation embody not only the hope of greater development of China and Africa, but also the promise of even stronger friendship between the two sides in the future.
The past few years have seen closer youth exchanges between China and Africa. More and more African young people are eager to learn about China and go to China. Over 20,000 young people from Africa have so far studied in China on Chinese government scholarships. Many of them have become pillars in the development of African countries. Many young Chinese have also come to Africa. Working in local communities day in and day out, they have gone through thick and thin together with the people there and contributed their share to economic and social progress in Africa. They have become young ambassadors for China-Africa friendship. During my visit to Africa in 2007, I invited 500 young people from Africa to visit China. Their visits helped enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the young people in China and Africa, including those in Tanzania. Today, I am pleased to announce that the Chinese Government has decided to invite 50 students from Tanzania to visit China within this year and have exchanges with their Chinese counterparts. We will continue to work with African countries to vigorously promote and support exchanges and cooperation between our young people. The younger generation will surely excel the older one. I am convinced that the China-Africa friendship and cooperation will be passed on to the younger generation and through their hands to future generations and will grow from strength to strength.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
To strengthen friendship and cooperation between China and Africa is a noble mission that history has entrusted to us. Let us join hands to build on our past achievements, work tirelessly to advance the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership and write a new chapter in the annals of China-Africa friendship!