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Trustworthy Friends and Sincere Partners Forever

2013/03/25

Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping
President of the People's Republic of China
At the Julius Nyerere International Convention Center

25 March 2013

Your Excellency President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

Habari! Habari! It gives me great pleasure and a feeling of warmth to meet so many friends here at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Center.

This is my first visit to Africa as the Chinese President and my sixth visit to the African continent. The moment I set foot on this beautiful land, I was impressed by the overwhelming friendship of the Tanzanian people toward the Chinese people. The government and people of Tanzania held a special and grand welcoming ceremony. This shows not only the importance they accorded to me and my delegation, but also the profound traditional friendship between the two countries and two peoples.

Let me begin by extending, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and in my own name, cordial greetings and best wishes to all the friends present today and the brotherly people of Tanzania and across Africa. I also wish to thank President Kikwete and the Tanzanian government for the thoughtful arrangements you have made for my visit and for your warm hospitality.

Tanzania is a cradle of mankind. The Tanzanian people have a glorious tradition and have made major contribution to the victory of the African people's struggle for national independence and their fight against apartheid.

Under the leadership of President Kikwete, Tanzania has maintained political stability, made big strides in national development, and played an important role in African and international affairs. The Chinese people rejoice at what you have achieved and sincerely wish the brotherly people of Tanzania fresh and still greater achievements.

Whenever I come to Africa, two things always strike me the most. One is the continuous progress. Each time I come to Africa, I am deeply impressed by new developments on this continent, which are really encouraging. The other is your overwhelming warmth. The sincere friendship of the African people toward the Chinese people is as warm and unforgettable as the sunshine in Africa.

As an African saying goes, "A river runs deep because of its source." The friendly exchanges between China and Africa date back a long time. In the 1950s and 60s, the first-generation leaders of New China - Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and others - and African statesmen of the older generation ushered in a new epoch in China-Africa relations. Since then, the Chinese and African people have sincerely supported and closely cooperated with each other in the endeavor to fight against colonialism and imperialism and achieve national independence and liberation, and in the pursuit of development and national revival. A fraternal bond has been formed in this process, which has seen us through thick and thin.

Today, thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides, China-Africa relations have entered a fast track of all-round development. We have set up the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and established a new type of strategic partnership. Our cooperation in various fields has produced notable results. In 2012, China-Africa trade approached US$200 billion. There were over 1.5 million mutual visits between the two sides. China's cumulative direct investment in Africa topped US$15 billion. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Chinese medical teams in Africa. Over the last half century, 18,000 Chinese medical personnel have worked in Africa, providing medical care and treatment to 250 million local patients.

The African people, too, have given full support and selfless help to the Chinese people. When the 2008 Beijing Olympic torch relay came to Dar es Salaam, the Tanzanian people welcomed the Olympic flame with song and dance, as if celebrating their own festival. This jubilant occasion has been etched on the memory of the Chinese.

In the wake of the massive earthquake in China's Wenchuan, African countries rushed to our assistance. One African country, with a population of less than two million and not well-off itself, made a generous donation of two million euros to the quake area - about one euro per person! This outpouring of compassion has warmed the hearts of the Chinese people.

In regional and international affairs, too, China and Africa have stepped up coordination and collaboration and effectively upheld the common interests of developing countries. Friendship and cooperation between the people has become a symbol of China-Africa relations and is well received by the international community.

Our joint efforts over the past five decades and the fruitful results that they have yielded have laid solid groundwork and provided valuable experience for furthering China-Africa relations.

- A review of this period of history shows that China-Africa relations have not grown overnight. Neither is it a gift from someone else. It has been nurtured and built, step by step, by our two sides over the years. These are all solid steps and we have always worked with one heart and one mind and shared weal and woe in this process. As a Chinese saying goes, "When we drink water from the well, we should not forget those who dug the well." We shall always honor the memory of all those who have overcome numerous difficulties and devoted themselves to building China-Africa relations. As we move ahead, we can always draw strength from history.

- A review of this period of history shows that China and Africa have always been a community of shared destinies. Similar historical experiences, common development tasks and shared strategic interests have bound us together. We each view the other's development as our own opportunity, and we each seek to promote the other's development and prosperity through closer cooperation.

- A review of this period of history shows that the defining feature of China-Africa relations is sincerity, friendship, mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development. We get on well and treat each other as equals. Neither side seeks to impose one's will on the other. True, China has done its best to help Africa's development. Yet China is always grateful to African countries and peoples for the firm support and selfless help given to China over the years. On issues involving the core interests of either side, we have taken a clear position and given unequivocal support to each other.

- A review of this period of history shows that if we are to maintain the strong vitality of China-Africa relations, we must keep pace with the times and forge ahead in an innovative and enterprising spirit. Over the past 50 years and more, at every crucial juncture of China-Africa relations, both sides have been able to take a long view, identify new converging interests and growth areas for cooperation, and bring the bilateral relations to new heights. Such an enterprising spirit of "finding a way through when confronted by mountains and finding a way to bridge to the other side when blocked by a river" is vital to a higher level of China-Africa cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China-Africa relations, blessed with opportune time, favorable conditions and popular support, have reached a new historical starting point today. Africa, a continent of hope and promise, has become one of the fastest growing regions and is forging ahead like a galloping African lion. China, on its part, continues to enjoy sound momentum of development. The foundation of China-Africa cooperation is more solid and cooperation mechanisms have been further improved. Both the Chinese and African people want to push forward their cooperation. Indeed, greater China-Africa cooperation represents the trend of the times and the will of the people.

Let me make it clear to you, my dear friends, that in the new environment, China-Africa relations have become more important with greater common interests, instead of less important with fewer common interests. Let me assure you that China will intensify, not weaken, its efforts to expand relations with Africa.

First, in treating African friends, we stress the importance of "sincerity". True friends are the most valuable. China-Africa traditional friendship is precious, which we must cherish all the more dearly. Unity and cooperation with African countries have always been an important foundation for China's foreign policy. This will never change, not even when China grows stronger and enjoys a higher international status. China insists on equality among all countries, irrespective of their size, strength and wealth. China upholds justice and opposes the practice of the big bullying the small, the strong lording over the weak, and the rich oppressing the poor as well as interference in others' internal affairs. China and Africa will continue to support each other on issues involving their core interests and major concerns. China will continue to firmly support African countries' just position on regional and international affairs, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries. China will continue to firmly support Africa in its endeavor to independently resolve regional issues and make greater contribution to peace and security in Africa.

There is no one-size-fits-all development model in the world. The diversity of world civilizations and development models should be respected by all. China will continue to firmly support African countries in exploring development paths that suit their own national conditions and increase exchanges of governance experience with African countries. This will enable us to draw wisdom from each other's time-honored civilizations and development practice, and better promote the common development and prosperity of China and Africa.

We in China say that "harmony in the family leads to success in everything". Africa is a big family of shared destiny. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, and it is a milestone in the African people's pursuit of greater strength through unity. We sincerely wish to see Africa taking bigger strides on the path of seeking strength from unity and making new achievements in peace and development, and we will firmly support Africa in this endeavor.

China hopes to develop better relations with Africa, and we also hope to see better relations between other countries and Africa. Africa belongs to the African people. In developing relations with Africa, all countries should respect Africa's dignity and independence.

Second, in conducting cooperation with Africa, we stress the importance of "real results". China both advocates and pursues mutually beneficial cooperation with Africa. China is committed to connecting its development with that of Africa, aligning the interests of the Chinese people with those of the African people, and combining China's development opportunities with those of Africa. China sincerely hopes to see faster development in African countries and a better life for African people. While developing itself, China has provided support and assistance to African friends to the best of its ability. In recent years, in particular, China has increased assistance to and cooperation with Africa. China will keep every commitment it has made to Africa, both in letter and in spirit.

China will continue to expand investment and financing cooperation with Africa, follow through on the commitment of providing a US$20 billion credit line to African countries from 2013 to 2015, put into practice the partnership on transnational and trans-regional infrastructural development, enhance mutually beneficial cooperation in such areas as agriculture and manufacturing, and help African countries turn resource endowment into development strength and achieve independent and sustainable development.

As the saying goes, "it is more helpful to teach people how to fish than to just give them fish". China will actively implement the "African Talents Program", train 30,000 African professionals in various areas and provide 18,000 government scholarships to African students from 2013 to 2015, and increase technology transfer and experience sharing with Africa.

With growth in its own economic and overall strength, China will continue to offer, as always, necessary assistance to Africa with no political strings attached.

Third, in strengthening China-Africa friendship, we stress the importance of "affinity". The Chinese and African people have a natural feeling of kinship toward each other. We Chinese believe that "the pleasure of life lies in having bosom friends". Then how do China and Africa become bosom friends? I believe that in-depth dialogue and concrete action is an essential way to strike a chord in our hearts.

The foundation and lifeline of China-Africa relations lie with the people. Therefore, the development of our relations should be more people-oriented. In recent years, growing China-Africa relations have brought our peoples closer to each other. Some African friends, actively performing in China, have become popular stars in our country. The Chinese TV series, Dou Dou na mama wakwe zake, a big hit in Tanzania, presents to the local audience a true picture of ordinary Chinese families.

Let me tell you a story of a young Chinese couple. When they were kids, both the boy and the girl got to know Africa from Chinese TV programs and have since been captivated by this continent. Later, they got married and decided to take Tanzania as their honeymoon destination. So on their first Valentine's Day after the wedding, they came here and backpacked across this country. They were overwhelmed by the hospitality and friendship of the local people and the magnificent savanna of Serengeti. After the couple went back to China, they posted what they saw and heard in Tanzania on their blog, which received tens of thousands of hits and several hundred comments. This is what they wrote in their blog, "We have completely fallen in love with Africa and our hearts will always be with this fascinating land." This story speaks to the natural feeling of kinship between the Chinese and African people. As long as we keep expanding people-to-people exchanges, friendship between our peoples will take deep roots and continue to flourish.

Looking ahead, we will place greater emphasis on people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Africa so as to improve mutual understanding and perception and expand public support for the China-Africa friendship. To develop China-Africa relations is a cause geared toward the future, which calls for unremitting efforts of youths from generation to generation. Both sides should vigorously promote youth exchanges so that China-Africa friendship will be carried forward and remain full of vigor and vitality.

Fourth, in resolving problems that may crop up in cooperation, we stress the importance of "good faith". China and Africa are both experiencing fast development and each needs to update its knowledge and understanding of the other. China will face squarely and sincerely the new developments and new problems confronting our relations. We should properly handle any problem that may arise in a spirit of mutual respect and win-win cooperation.

I am convinced that there will always be more opportunities than challenges and more solutions than difficulties. China has worked and will continue to work with African countries to take concrete measures to properly address problems in our economic cooperation and trade, and enable the African countries to gain more benefits from the cooperation. At the same time, we sincerely hope that African countries will facilitate Chinese enterprises and citizens in their cooperation activities in Africa.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since the birth of New China more than 60 years ago, particularly since the introduction of reform and opening-up more than 30 years ago, the Communist Party of China has led the Chinese people in blazing a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. China has made historic progress in its development, becoming the second largest economy in the world. China's comprehensive national strength has grown significantly and the people's living standards have improved markedly. It only took China, a country of over 1.3 billion people, several decades to travel a journey that took developed countries several hundred years. One can imagine how hard and difficult it has been for us to come this far.

At present, China remains a populous country with a weak economic foundation and uneven development. While our aggregate GDP may be quite large, once divided by 1.3 billion, the per capita number is only around the 90th place in the world. Some 128 million Chinese are still living below the poverty line set by the United Nations. To provide a well-to-do life for the over 1.3 billion people, there is still a long way to go and persistent and strenuous efforts are still called for. As China continues to develop, its people will surely lead a better life. However, no matter how developed it may become, China will always see African countries as its tested friends.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China cannot develop in isolation of the world or Africa. The world and Africa also need China for prosperity and stability. Though separated by vast oceans, China and Africa share a strong empathy with each other. We are bonded not only by the profound traditional friendship and closely linked interests, but also by the dream we all hold on to.

The over 1.3 billion Chinese people are working hard to realize the Chinese dream of great national renewal, and the over one billion African people are committed to the African dream of gaining strength from unity and achieving development and rejuvenation. The Chinese and African people should enhance unity, cooperation, mutual support and assistance so as to make our dreams come true. We should also work with the rest of the world to realize the dream of the world for enduring peace and common prosperity, and make new and even greater contribution to the noble cause of peace and development of mankind.

Asantenisana!

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