China and Africa: Joining to Create a Better World

Published on 30th July 2013

During his visit to Tanzania last March, President Xi Jinping talked about the dream of over 1.3 billion Chinese people for great national renewal and the dream of over 1 billion African people for gaining strength from unity and achieving development and rejuvenation. The Chinese and African people should enhance solidarity, cooperation, mutual support and assistance to realize our dreams. We should also work with the rest of the world to realize the dream of enduring peace and common prosperity. 

The Chinese Dream, in essence is about prosperity of the country, rejuvenation of the nation and happiness of the people. This is a blueprint we have drawn according to the historical trajectory of China. We have the confidence and capability to realize the dream. The Chinese dream is consistent  with the beautiful dreams cherished by people of other countries and, in particular, the African Dream.

First, the Chinese Dream and the African Dream are both for peace. The Chinese people held dear the dream of unity of the world even in ancient times. We forged a national character of harmony and faithfulness with all neighbors, national openness and inclusiveness to other cultures. As we suffered deeply from imperialism and colonialism in modern times, chaos and turmoil is the last thing we want. Stability and peace is what we have been striving for. Unswervingly pursuing the path of peaceful development is China’s solemn commitment to the world, and the only choice we have to realize the Chinese dream.

The African people always cherish peace as an invaluable treasure. Centuries of colonial aggression and enslavement brought wars and conflicts to the continent. Today, the continent is not fully free from local chaos and turmoil. African people hope for stability and peace. China and Africa both pursue stability and peace in their dreams and are both committed to safeguarding and promoting world peace. Our joint efforts to realize our dreams as peace loving and peace pursuing nations will greatly strengthen the force for peace and stability, and add to the efforts of building a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.

Second, the Chinese dream and the African dream are both for development. Development and prosperity are the common aspiration and historical mission of China and Africa. China has grown into the world’s second largest economy, yet its per capita GDP ranks just around 90th in the world. There are still more than 100 million people in the country living below the poverty line, and it is an imperative to maintain a steady and robust economic growth. It is our goal to accelerate economic transformation, make our development more sustainable, strengthen social development and to uphold social equity and justice so that the fruits of development can benefit the entire population more fairly and every person has the opportunity to excel in life.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, Africa has made impressive economic and social achievements, but it is still confronted with structural problems of the weak economic foundation, unitary economic structure and unbalanced development. Reducing poverty, improving livelihood and achieving sustainable development remain urgent tasks for the African continent. The tasks give us common ground and greater scope for cooperation. China and Africa are highly complementary in economy, presenting important development opportunities to each other. Cooperation will continue to advance common development and the prosperity of our two sides.

Third, the Chinese dream and the African dream are both for greater strength through independent efforts. Both China and Africa went through trials and tribulations in the past. As two great nations, we do not allow ourselves to be at the mercy of others or blindly follow others. One basic lesson China has learned through revolutionary struggles and national development is independence and self reliance.

We oppose others’ interference in our internal affairs, keep to our own path of development and mainly rely on ourselves for economic and social development. We don’t interfere with others’ internal affairs either. We respect the right of the people of other countries to choose their own path of development and social system and base our positions and policies on the merit of facts.

But independence does not mean isolation or closing doors to others. Rather, we are developing friendly cooperation with all other countries on the basis of independence. What has happened shows that this is a viable and effective principle.

The African Dream, similarly puts emphasis on strength through unity. Over the past 50 years and more, African countries have been working hard to explore a path of development suitable to their national conditions, push for African integration, strengthen the collective security mechanism and speak with one voice in international affairs. By upholding independence and self-reliance, China and Africa can better understand and respect one another, and can also be more determined in rendering mutual support and working together as we move ahead.

Fourth, the Chinese dream and the African dream are both for rejuvenation. The Chinese civilization, one of the four ancient civilizations in the world, has made important contribution to the progress of human civilization throughout its 5000 years of uninterrupted history. Africa is also one of the birthplaces of human civilization. The ancient Egyptian civilization, Axum civilization, Songhai civilization and Great Zimbabwean civilization make up the splendid African Civilization and stand as Africa’s contribution to mankind. However, China and Africa both fell behind when capitalist production and modern industries emerged. The great rejuvenation of  the Chinese nation and Africa ultimately relies on the rejuvenation of our respective civilizations in all fields, materially, culturally, politically, socially and ecologically. It has to be achieved through innovation and independent development, not restoration of the past or westernization. It is about stronger confidence in recognition of our national identities, respect for diversity of civilization, as well as dialogue and tolerance among civilizations. Increasing mutual understanding and affinity between the Chinese and African civilizations and strengthening mutual learning in the process of rejuvenation will offer an inexhaustible source of dynamism and inspiration as we join hands to realize our dreams.

The dream is ahead of us. The path is under our feet. We must make earnest and hard efforts to realize the Chinese Dream and the African Dream. China is ready to work with Africa to consolidate strategic mutual trust, safeguard and develop our relations as a community of common destinies, actively expand and deepen pragmatic cooperation for common development, and strengthen coordination and cooperation in global governance to forge a more fair, just and balanced global order that benefits all.

China will be committed to the path of peaceful development, pursue common development with Africa and firmly support African countries as they explore development paths suitable to your national conditions, safeguard peace and stability on the continent, and work for integration through solidarity. China will continue to follow a win-win strategy of opening up, upholding friendship and offering more benefits to African friends. We will continue to share our experience and expertise with Africa for common good, and help our African friends to strengthen their capacity for independent and sustainable development, and ensure that through its own development, China can make bigger contribution to Africa’s peace, development, prosperity and rejuvenation.

By H.E. Ambassador LU Shaye
Director of African Affairs Department,
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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