President Xi Jinping of China has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to follow the path of win-win partnership cooperation with African countries adding that Africa’s development has great potential and the continent is full of hope.
The Chinese leader was opening the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) at the Great Hall of People in Beijing.
President Yoweri Museveni was among several African Heads of State and Government who attended the opening ceremony of the summit.
The 2-day meeting that is running under the theme, ‘China and Africa, toward an even stronger community with a shared future through win-win cooperation’ has attracted several African leaders who include among others the current chairperson of the African Union President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
While welcoming his guests to Beijing-China, President Xi-Jing ping pointed out that his country has fulfilled its pledges made during the 2nd FOCAC summit held in 2015 in Johannesburg South Africa.
‘China has implemented plans adopted in the 2015 summit in Johannesburg railways, airports, peace, security, culture and science. The US$ 60 billion offered has been delivered or arranged,’ he noted.
He said that those plans have brought benefits to the people of China and Africa and have elevated the cooperation to greater heights.
President Xi-Jinping announced his country’s commitment to implement the 8 major initiatives with African countries in the next 3 years covering among others areas of Industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation and green development in-order to mitigate effects of climate change.
He added that China values sincerity and trust in pursuit of partnership cooperation and has neither any attachments to the strength in the continent nor seek any gains while cooperating with Africa.
The Chinese leader pointed out that his country will seek to have both sides leverage each other’s strengths, not to interfere in African Affairs and only believes in giving more and taking less while supporting development programs on the continent.
He announced that China would exempt some African nations from outstanding debts in the form of free Chinese government loans due by the end of 2018.
President Xi-Jinping also stressed that China will resolutely safeguard on open world economy and multilateral trade system while rejecting protectionism and unilateralism.
‘Anyone who isolates himself like an Island has no future,’ he said.
He further disclosed that China will also get involved in governance and stay committed to the vision of consultation, cooperation and benefit for all in the global governance adding that his country reaffirms it’s commitment to peace, security, stability and development.
President Xi added that his country will support Africa in achieving food security by 2030 through agricultural modernization as well as provide food relief to countries faced with famine.
He said china will launch an infrastructure initiative with Africa and will support those companies involved in infrastructure development in Africa.
President Xi further announced that china will support the youth from Africa by offering them scholarships, training high calibre young people from the continent and launching Africa innovation centre and that of environment.
He assured African Leaders that Chinese Art and cultural centres will also be established in Africa.
The Chinese President announced another financial support of US $ 60 billion to the African continent for various sectors emphasizing the need to help the youth whom he described as the future of a blossoming relationship between China and Africa.
‘I trust that the relationship between China and Africa will be passed on from generation to generation. We must build a community with a shared future,’ he stressed.
The President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa who was also the co-chairperson of the session said FOCAC refutes the misconception by some quarters that it is a new form of colonialism in Africa pointing out that the Forum is on the contrary beneficial to the people of China and Africa.
‘It is a vision of an integrated prosperous and peaceful Africa, we welcome the announcement by FOCAC initiatives that will have positive and everlasting impact to the people of Africa,’ he observed.
The President of Rwanda and the current AU chairman Paul Kagame noted that FOCAC has grown into an engine of meaningful cooperation between Africa and China. He saluted President Xi-Jinping for his personal engagement in these efforts.
‘We now want to scale up and strengthen the Forum to maximise mutual benefits,’ the Rwandan leader said.
The Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Gutterres praised China for pursuing the path that will immensely contribute to the well being of human kind in the world.
HICGI News Agency brings you Museveni’s Speech.
His Excellency Xi Jinping,
Excellencies African Heads of State,
Chairman of the African Union Commission,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am here in two capacities ─ as President of Uganda but also as the current Chairman of the EAC comprising of the countries of Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. Uganda has a population of 40 million people but the EAC countries have a population of 170 million people, with a GDP (by the PPP method) of US$440bn. By 2050, the population of Uganda will be 102 million and that of East Africa will be 878 million. The population of Uganda, like the population of much of the wider EAC, is comprised of two linguistic groups: the Bantu speakers who are part of the wider Niger-Congo group of languages and the Nilo-Saharan group of languages comprised of the Cushitic, Nilotic and Nilo-Hamitic languages. Uganda and East Africa are, actually, the confluence point of these great African groups ─ one emerging from the forests of Central Africa, starting in the Cameroon and the other coming from Ancient Egypt, Nubia and the Ethiopian Highlands.
Therefore, the population of the EAC and Uganda has alot of similarities within each cluster but also has alot of linkages between the two clusters.
Uganda and EAC are lucky because we also have the neutral dialect of Swahili which is used in the whole of East Africa, Eastern Congo, Northern Mozambique, Northern Zambia, Northern Malawi and the Comoro Islands.
Uganda and East Africa have huge natural resources in addition to the human resource mentioned above. If you take Uganda alone, she is rich in: fresh water resources (Lakes like Nalubaale-Victoria, Mwitanzigye-Albert, etc and huge rivers like the Nile, the Katoonga, Kafu, the Kagyera, etc); forest resources; agricultural resources; mineral resources such as petroleum and gas, phosphates, iron-ore, vermiculite, copper, cobalt, nickel, tin, tungsten, gold, aluminium clays, lithium and niobium, uranium, etc.
All these could not have been industrially exploited if we had not developed the necessary infrastructure elements (electricity, roads, piped water, ICT backbone, telecommunications, etc). Fortunately, mainly working with our Chinese friends, we are about to add 600mgws and 183mgws to the electricity we already had from the Jinja and Bujagaali dams and scores of other smaller hydro-power houses (Buseruka, Ishasha, Mpanga, Bugoye, Kikagati, etc).
We have worked on many roads and water-supply projects. We are working on modernizing our railway and reviving our Airline.
All this, therefore, offers good investment opportunities. Chinese companies have, indeed, already worked with us on both the elements of infrastructure and the production of industrial goods. Chinese companies have been busy with the roads, the hydro-power stations as well as with factories for ceramics, phosphates, iron-ore, etc. Some of the Chinese companies are active in oil and gas.
Currently, the rate of return on investment in East Africa is 11% However, with the improved supply of electricity and lower transport costs, the rate of return on the investment will go to 15%
As far as people interested in business are concerned, it is good to know that the automobiles on the East African roads are 607,593 and motor-bikes are 842,834. The East Africans consume 991,117,380 million linear metres of textiles, etc., etc. Uganda and East Africa in general are, therefore, good destinations for investments and good markets for finished products and services. When you invest in Uganda or any of the East African countries, you will sell your product or service to the consumers in Uganda, in the EAC, in COMESA, in the CFTA, back to China or to third Party markets such as the USA, EU, India, Japan, etc.
Finally, coming to the Sino-African, Sino-Ugandan relationship, we go back to 1949 when a new China was born under the Communist Party and Chairman Mao Tse Tung. Since that time, China stood with Africa in its anti-colonial struggle. We also stood with China in asserting its rights in the UN.
Even when China was still underdeveloped, she helped East Africa with the Tazara Railway to defeat the blockade of the newly independent Zambia by the Colonial and racist regimes that controlled Southern Africa at that time.
Now that China is the second biggest economy in the World, we are co-operating even more. China has helped us to build the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway line and negotiations are about to be concluded to extend it to Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and DRC by, first, implementing the Tororo-Kampala portion. The Chinese parastatals and private sector companies are busy doing infrastructure projects and industrial projects.
The railway company China Road and Bridge Construction is the one that did the Mombasa – Nairobi line. A private company, Chinese Company Guanzhou DongSong Energy Group, is about to complete the industrial facilities of producing steel and phosphate fertilizers at Tororo. A number of Chinese Companies are developing Industrial Parks such as the ones at Kapeeka and Mbale. China does all this without attempts at interfering in the Internal Affairs of African countries which is a bad habit of some other players.
Therefore, the Chinese leaders and people since 1949, have been with us on an equal basis. We all realize the importance of supporting the prosperity of each other. I always say that when I buy a service or a good from somebody, then I am supporting the prosperity of that actor. I am helping him to get money, helping him to create jobs in his country and to expand his tax base. Similarly, when he buys a service or a good from my country, he is supporting our prosperity. He is helping us to get money, to create jobs in our country and to expand our tax-base.
The big population groups of Africa, China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, working together through their leaders and institutions, can do alot to enhance the prosperity of their citizens through trading together and through cross border investments. This would give a new meaning to the concepts of South-South co-operation. With the addition of the huge Russian Federation, a land area of 5.3 million Square miles and a population of 150 million people, through the BRICS organization, this South-South grouping, would create a new and fairer global dispensation. It would no longer be merely South-South Co-operation. It would be South-South-North Co-operation on equal basis. This would be a new phenomenon in the much tormented Globe of the last 500 years, when Imperialism, taking advantage of the internal weaknesses of the different respective areas, became the new tormentor of the World.
The patriotic forces in Africa cannot forget the most welcome phenomenon of the October Revolution of 1917 and how it contributed to the anti-colonial struggle.
We would, then, of course, more easily work with our friends in the EU and the USA on the basis of win-win arrangements, not the win-lose arrangements of the last 500 years. This should not be a problem, with deeper thought; after all 12% of the USA population is African. Moreover, many African countries and the former colonizers can put to good use the historical relations with the British Commonwealth or the French Community. What was previously negative could become much more positive than it has been hitherto.
I thank you.