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  Home > FOCAC Archives > The 2nd Ministerial Conference > Follow-up Actions
Talking Points for Consultation between Director-General Xu Jinghu and African Diplomatic Envoys in China
2004/12/23
 

      Over the past year, the Chinese Government has attached great importance to the implementation of the follow-up activities of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).  Thanks to the vigorous support of African countries and the joint efforts of both sides, these activities have progressed smoothly.  As things stand now, some of the activities have already been implemented, and some have made substantive headway, which are reflected mainly in the following areas:

 

I.  Political exchanges and cooperation between China and Africa have continued to strengthen.

 

Firstly, China and Africa have maintained frequent exchanges of high-level visits, which brought their friendly interaction to a new high.  At the beginning of this year, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Egypt, Gabon and Algeria.  In June, Vice-President Zeng Qinghong visited Tunisia, Togo, Benin and South Africa.  From October to November, Chairman Wu Bangguo of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China visited Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Nigeria.  In November, Vice-Premier Huang Ju visited Egypt.  With Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Ethiopia at the end of last year included, five major Chinese state leaders visited Africa in the space of one year, which was never seen before in the history of friendly China-Africa exchanges.  This fully reflects the high priority the Chinese side places on developing China-Africa friendship and cooperation.  Since the beginning of this year, altogether eight presidents, two vice presidents, two prime ministers, six speakers and ten foreign ministers from African states have visited China.  Contacts between the parliaments of the two sides have been frequent, party-to-party exchanges have increased, and the interaction between the Chinese government departments and people's organizations and their African counterparts have become more and more dynamic.  These exchanges and visits have further promoted the mutual understanding and friendship between China and Africa, and intensified their cooperation in various fields.

 

Secondly, China and Africa continue to support and cooperate closely with each other in international affairs and on major issues.  China received staunch support from the overwhelming majority of African countries on the China-related draft resolution at the 60th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights and the Taiwan-related draft resolution at the 57th World Health Assembly as well as China's bid for positions in international organizations.  We express our deep appreciation and gratitude for all this.  China also supported its African friends in international affairs likewise.  China took an active part in the discussion on African issues in the Security Council, paid more attention to the opinions of African countries and reflected their concerns.  In this year's bid for seats in the UN Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, China gave African countries various forms of support.  China attended the meetings held by the UN Security Council in Kenya on the issues of Sudan and Somalia, and the International Conference on Peace, Security, Democracy and Development in the Great Lakes Region held in Tanzania.  Ambassador Zhang Yishan, China's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, visited countries in the Great Lakes Region with the UN delegation.  China actively participated in major activities of the African Union and sent its representatives to attend the Summit of the African Union held in July and the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union on Employment and Poverty Reduction in Africa held in September.  Moreover, in October this year, China hosted the first China-Africa Human Rights Seminar, during which it had fruitful discussions with representatives from 27 African countries on the issue of human rights.

 

      Thirdly, China and Africa have further strengthened their cooperation in the field of peace and security.  To date, China has participated in nine UN peace-keeping operations in Africa, and dispatched 1,401 person-times of peace-keeping military personnel.  Since the beginning of this year, China has continued its active participation in UN peace-keeping operations in Africa.  At the request of the UN, China has dispatched 567 more military personnel to UN peace-keeping operations in Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, Burundi, Ethiopia and Eritrea.  We have also rotated some of the Chinese military observers who were carrying out their duties in the UN's task regions of West-Sahara, Ethiopia-Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  At present, China is participating in seven UN peace-keeping operations in Africa, involving a total of 837 military personnel.  Among them, China sent transportation, army-engineering and medical teams with 558 persons to peace-keeping operation in Liberia, and three military observers respectively to the UN peace-keeping operations in Cote d'Ivoire and Burundi which were newly launched this year.  In order to facilitate the settlement of the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's Darfur region and the peace process of Somalia, the Chinese Government has given material or financial assistance within its capability.

 

           II.  The economic cooperation and trade between China and Africa have developed smoothly.

 

Firstly, new achievements have been scored in trade and investment between China and Africa.

 

        The trade volume between China and Africa has grown continuously.  On the basis of "equality and mutual benefit, making up for each other's deficiencies and common development", China actively develops and expands its trade and cooperation with African countries.  Thanks to the joint efforts of the governments and enterprises of the two sides, the trade between China and Africa has displayed a gratifying momentum in 2004.  From January to October, the total imports and exports between them reached USD 23.12 billion, up 54.3 percent over the same period last year.  Among them, China's export totaled USD 10.98 billion, up 33.8 percent, and import USD 12.14 billion, up 79.2 percent.  Africa's exports to China soared and China ran a trade deficit of USD 1.16 billion.

 

                China continues to increase its investment in Africa.  From January to September 2004, China made direct investment worth USD 54.346 million in Africa.  By the end of September 2004, China's accumulative direct investment in Africa totaled USD 546 million.  China's investment projects in Africa cover 49 African countries and various fields including trade, production and processing, resource development, transportation and comprehensive development of agriculture and agricultural produce.  China has already signed bilateral agreements on promotion and protection of investment with 26 African countries. 

 

                Secondly, new progress has been made in China's assistance to Africa.  From January to November 2004, China undertook 33 complete plant projects in 21 African countries, 28 technological cooperation projects in 21 countries and 28 general material assistance projects in 21 countries.  China also supported Chinese enterprises in undertaking five concessional loan projects in Africa. 

 

                Thirdly, China has worked vigorously towards giving tariff-free treatment to some goods exported to China by 28 Least Developed Countries in Africa that have diplomatic relations with China and made substantive progress in this regard.  Based on the list of actually imported goods from the above 28 countries in 2002 and 2003, excluding goods already covered by zero-tariff treatment in 2004 and some sensitive goods, the Chinese Government drafted a list of 187 tax items for tariff-free goods, and formulated relevant rules of origin and the issuance and verification procedures of the certificate of origin.  China has now basically concluded negotiations with relevant countries, and the tariff-free treatment will take effect formally from 1 January 2005.  In addition, China also provided technical training to the authorities issuing the certificate of origin and customs officers of some African beneficiary states.

 

      Fourthly, efforts have been intensified in promoting China's cooperation with Africa in human resources development.  Based on the previous achievements, the Chinese side has increased financial input, expanded the scale of training and established Inter-Ministerial Coordination Mechanism on Foreign Human Resources Development Cooperation.  This year, the Chinese side has spent more than twice as much as last year on Africa-related training programs.  According to incomplete statistics, from January to November, over 2,100 African personnel received training in China.  China has also sent more than 300 agricultural experts and 60 vocational teachers to African countries to help train local people.  With the launch of its young volunteers' service program in Africa, China will send its first group of young volunteers to African countries.

 

      Fifthly, in general, the implementation of the agreements signed at the China-Africa Business Conference is progressing smoothly.  Altogether 21 cooperation agreements were signed at the China-Africa Business Conference with a total value of USD one billion.  The Chinese side has actively encouraged related enterprises to implement the agreements.  As a result, work has already begun in implementing the agreement on upgrading rural power grid between China Aviation Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) and National Power Corporation of Zimbabwe with a total value of USD 130 million.  Enterprises involved in other projects are also taking vigorous measures towards the early materialization of their projects.

 

III. Most of the follow-up actions in other fields have already been materialized.

 

      In culture, "Meet in Beijing" International Art Festival with Africa as the main guest was successfully held in Beijing in May.  Nine national artistic troupes and eight governmental cultural delegations from various regions of the African continent attended the event, and three African art exhibitions were held in Beijing.  Premier Wen Jiabao of China's State Council attended the closing ceremony and sang high praise of the festival.  In July, the "Voyage of Chinese Culture to Africa" covering 16 countries and regions in Africa was crowned with a complete success.  Chinese troupes of singing and dancing, acrobatics and martial arts visited and performed in 11 African countries and held Chinese art festivals respectively in South Africa, Cameroon and Ghana.

 

      In tourism, things are going smoothly in giving eight more African countries the Approved Destination Status (ADS) for Chinese tourists with MOUs signed between China and all these countries.  Operation of Chinese tourist groups to these countries formally started on 15 December.

 

      In non-governmental exchanges, the first "China-Africa Youth Festival" was successfully held in China in August.  During the Youth Festival, the Forum on China-Africa Youth Cooperation (FCYC) was held, the Beijing Declaration of FCYC was issued, and exchanges between Chinese and African young entrepreneurs and cultural exchanges between Chinese and African young people were also carried out.

 

      We have produced positive results in implementing the follow-up actions to the second FOCAC Ministerial Meeting, but we are also soberly aware that Addis Ababa Action Plan is a systematic project covering the political dimension, security, economic relations, trade, culture and education and other aspects and involving dozens of African countries and numerous ministries and commissions in China.  We still have a lot to do.  The fourth Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) of FOCAC will be held next year and the next ministerial meeting the year after next.  In this context, I would like to brief you on the Chinese side's preliminary thoughts on the future work of FOCAC:

 

      Firstly, we will continue to promote the exchange of high-level visits and political cooperation between China and Africa, actively discuss multi-level and multi-channel exchanges and cooperation between the legislatures and political parties of the two sides and enhance the mutual understanding and cooperation between the two sides in human rights and other international affairs.

 

      Secondly, China stands ready to strengthen the exchange of experience with African countries in state administration and management, offering its development experience to African countries for their information.  China is also willing to exchange and share experience with other countries relating to cooperation with Africa so as to jointly work towards Africa's development and poverty reduction.  The Chinese side will make strenuous efforts to encourage the international community to create a favorable environment, conditions and opportunities for the development of Africa.

 

      Thirdly, we will deepen China-Africa economic and trade cooperation.  The Chinese side will continue to provide assistance to Africa within its capacity through bilateral friendly cooperation mechanism and within the framework of FOCAC.  China will increase its import of African goods, expand mutual investment and ensure the success of the economic and trade cooperation projects between China and African countries.  The Chinese side will intensify its efforts in the early materialization of the tariff-free treatment given to some export goods to China from 28 African countries.  China will urge related Chinese enterprises to conscientiously implement the agreements signed at the China-Africa Business Conference and encourage more Chinese enterprises to go to Africa for cooperation in various forms.

 

      Fourthly, we will try to find out new ways and forms for China-Africa cooperation in human resources development.  In light of the needs of African countries, we will adopt more flexible means to help them cultivate and train management and technical professionals in various fields that are in short supply.  Next year, China will step up efforts in its cooperation with Africa in human resources development, expanding the scope and enriching the content of training.  It is planned that next year the number of beneficiaries of this kind of training programs will be much more than that of this year.

 

      Fifthly, we will further explore effective ways to pool the strength of FOCAC and NAPAD mechanism and establish direct links between FOCAC and NEPAD executive secretariat.  Emphasis will be placed on China-Africa cooperation in such NEPAD priority fields as agriculture, infrastructure development and human resources development.  In addition, vigorous efforts will be made in promoting China-Africa cooperation in culture, education, health, environmental protection and financial sector.

 

      Sixthly, we will make good preparations for and ensure the success of the 4th SOM of FOCAC to be held in 2005 in order to lay a solid foundation for the 3rd Ministerial Meeting in 2006.  Efforts will also be made to build up FOCAC follow-up mechanisms so that we can exchange views extensively with African countries through multiple channels in various formats.

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