The friendship between Africa and China is entrenched in a long history of strong relations and cooperation based on the foundations of equality and mutual respect.
This mutually beneficial relationship is centred on political liberation and economic development, and is enabled by opportunities presented by bodies like the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
Since its founding, the forum has become an important platform for collective dialogue, and an effective mechanism for enhancing solidarity and cooperation with African nations.
The forum was launched in October 2000 in Beijing as a tri-annual collective dialogue platform for cooperation between eastern countries and Africa.
In many ways, it is a model of south-south cooperation that signifies the strengths of using an incremental and concrete method to respond to development issues of shared concerns.
Built on a foundation of pragmatic cooperation, equality and mutual benefit, it offers an opportunity to boost the implementation of Africa’s recently adopted Agenda 2063.
It also aims to serve as a catalyst for development on the continent while strengthening African integration and unity, thus presenting a collective effort and an opportunity for Africa to regain its power and determine its destiny.
The programme is underpinned by the African Union’s vision to build an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, one that is driven and managed by its citizens, and represents a dynamic force on the international stage.
Even with the challenges of uncertain global economic conditions, the two sides continue to complement each other with a shared vision that embraces the principle of “sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith”.
China’s rise and Africa’s renewal go hand in hand to create a historic opportunity for the strengthening of China-Africa relations, and the implementation of Agenda 2063.
China’s contribution to the socioeconomic development of Africa has seen it contribute to telecommunications, infrastructure, manufacturing, finance, media and agriculture.
Until the end of 2012, China offered help to 53 African countries and has undertaken more than 1 000 projects covering industry, agriculture, infrastructure, culture, education and health. It has provided more than 60 000 training opportunities for African countries and sent more than 350 000 technical professionals to Africa.
Until now, China has built more than 2 000km of railroads, 3 000km of highways, and more than 100 schools and 100 hospitals in Africa. China has cancelled billions of rands of debt owed by African countries. Since 1963, China has sent medical teams with more than 20 000 doctors to 51 African countries and trained tens of thousands of medical staff for Africa.
China’s contribution to the continent demonstrates that its assistance has significantly improved the overall environment, and conditions for social and economic development, especially conditions of infrastructure, which are essential for the implementation of Agenda 2063.
In the past few two decades, we have seen how most African economies have implemented sound macroeconomic and market-oriented policies that have spurred the expansion of trade and investment with China, and many other countries in the international community.
It is our hope that the 2015 forum discussions next month will enable the continent to foster strengthened socioeconomic and development relations with China that will contribute to Africa’s efforts to achieve the Agenda 2063 goals.
We are confident that the spirit of partnership between China and Africa will permeate the corridors of the forum as participants plan to find solutions for strengthening sustainable development in Africa, China and the developing world.