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China's Africa role gets ringing endorsement

Updated: 2013-03-29 10:21
By Wu Jiao ( China Daily)

China's Africa role gets ringing endorsement 

South African President Jacob Zuma was instrumental in getting African leaders together for a conclave with President Xi Jinping at Durban. Huang Jingwen / Xinhua

African leaders rebuff Western claims, laud BEijing for fostering economic growth in the continent

African leaders have strongly rebuffed Western claims that China was colonizing Africa, and instead reiterated that the Asian nation was playing a key, important role in the sustainable and prosperous development of the continent.

In what is seen by many observers as an African vote of confidence in the new Chinese leadership, leaders from 13 African nations voiced the collective opinion that China-Africa ties were poised for even more growth under President Xi Jinping.

South African President Jacob Zuma, who was instrumental in getting the African leaders together for a conclave at Durban, said China-Africa ties are a two-way relationship that has proved beneficial for both sides.

"There is no doubt that China will continue to play a pivotal role in the building of a more prosperous Africa," said Zuma.

The South African president said that it was not correct on the part of Western nations to say that China was colonizing Africa through its mining and mineral projects. These projects are instead ideal examples of mutually beneficial cooperation, Zuma said.

Idriss Deby, the president of Chad, was even more vocal in his views on the issue. He reiterated that the China-Africa partnership is a transparent understanding that has been instrumental in the development of several African nations.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Africa-China relations have always been based on a win-win approach featuring mutual trust and benefit, and without inference in each other's internal issues.

"Such an open policy has given Africa the option to formulate its own policy of cooperation with the rest of the world," said the Ethiopian leader.

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea, said Africa's cooperation with China is a mutually beneficial arrangement and "it was ridiculous and groundless" for some to doubt it.

"China is an important country and a key participant in the global economy. We have full confidence in China and believe that they are sincere in their engagements and fully committed to African development.

"Western countries have no right to blame us as they have never done anything substantial for Africa or African nations."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni lauded China's role in African infrastructure development. "In my eyes, all the major railways in Africa, notably the railway from Tanzania to Zambia, have been built by China, and this reflects the specialty of the China-Africa ties."

Museveni told his African counterparts that it was an exemplary gesture from China to build the railway (in the 1970s) at a time when no other foreign country or global agency was willing to undertake the massive project.

"They (Western nations) were willing to build only short-distance roads. This was not something that would have solved our problems," said Museveni.

Angolan President Jos Eduardo dos Santos said Africa is in desperate need of finance, technology and talent training. "We have got sincere and committed help from China in all these sectors."

He also stressed that China, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has always been in the forefront for canvassing support on major African issues.

All the leaders agreed that Xi's African visit is further testimony to China's efforts to consolidate its ties with the continent.

"China and Africa are within a community of shared destiny," Xi said in his remarks and maintained that China is committed to support African development and Africa's equal participation in global affairs.

Xi also said that while China will continue to encourage more domestic firms to consider investments in Africa, care would also be taken to ensure that these firms abide by their corporate social responsibilities.

Zuma said it was important for Africa to realize that significant global changes are in the offing.

"We are no longer speculating or expecting what is happening in the rest of the world. We are very much part of it," Zuma said.

The South African president added that African nations must work collectively to unlock the true potential of Africa and tackle challenges like inadequate infrastructure and financing and speed up industrialization, and add value to mineral resources.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn admitted that infrastructure bottlenecks have hindered economic development and the improvement of people's living conditions in Africa.

He hoped that the Chinese government and people support Africa in key areas, so that Africa can achieve its poverty alleviation goals.

Thomas Yayi, president of Benin, hoped that China can further cooperate with Africa on Africa-related affairs, as Africa itself lacks enough representation in major UN institutions.


(China Daily 03/29/2013 page2)

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