Statement by Deputy President Jacob Zuma at the Second Ministerial Conference of the China-Africa Co-operation Forum, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 15 December 2003

Your Excellency, Prime Minister Zenawi of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,
Your Excellency President Chissano, President of Mozambique and Chairperson of the African Union,
Your Excellency Prime Minister Wen, of the People's Republic of China,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
The Chairperson of the AU Commission, Professor Konare,
Honourable Ministers,
Members of the diplomatic corps,
Distinguished delegates,

Thank you for the opportunity of being part of this dialogue, to share ideas on how to further consolidate and strengthen relations between Africa and China.

The China-Africa Co-Operation Forum provides an important platform for Africa and China to discuss co-operation on various issues. It offers a medium to discuss the active involvement of China in the rebuilding of our continent, in line with the objectives and programmes of the African Union.

The Beijing Declaration and the Programme of Action agreed upon in 2000 established the framework within which our relations could be conducted, and reaffirmed the historic and cordial relations between Africa and China.

In our quest to achieve sustainable development and improve the quality of life, we welcome Chinese support of the objectives of the AU economic blueprint for Africa, the New Partnership for Africa's Development. It is our well-considered view that China would align its development programmes and involvement on the African continent with those of NEPAD in all spheres.

The priority areas identified under NEPAD continue to require urgent attention and offer opportunities for partnership, for example infrastructure development, human resource development, prevention and treatment of communicable diseases, agriculture, development of information communications technology and others.

We are emphasizing the need to work within the African Union and its programmes because we are firm believers in multilateralism, in all spheres, regionally and internationally.

In this regard, we urge continued cooperation between China and Africa in critical matters such as the reform of international organizations, especially the United Nations, to make it more representative of the world today. The recent experiences of unilateralism have also reminded us of the need to strengthen the UN, to enable it to play its key role of resolving international disputes in an orderly manner.

Also important is our co-operation is engaging the World Trade Organisation system. The unity displayed during the Cancun trade negotiations within the G20+, of which China was a part, played a significant role in trying to get the meeting to meet its Doha commitments. The unity displayed at Cancun could be a building block to mobilize support for a just international trading system.

Also crucial for us, is access to the huge Chinese market for African goods and services. We believe this Forum will provide an opportunity to effectively tackle this issue and find common ground.

We must emphasise that Africa offers a host of opportunities for interaction between China and Africa in a number of areas. The Business Forum should co-ordinate our interaction with regards to trade and investment.

Another area of cooperation is within agriculture, which is the backbone of most African economies. China has the expertise, resources, and technology that would help to improve Africa's agricultural infrastructure and output.

We also view human resource development as another critical area of collaboration and partnership.
One of our key priorities is the achievement of peace and stability throughout Africa.

We therefore appreciate the active Chinese support for peacekeeping operations in some parts of Africa under the auspices of the African Union and the UN, through providing personnel as well as financial assistance.

The establishment of the Peace and Security Council will co-ordinate these efforts more comprehensively, and we trust that China will extend its active support to the PSC.

Your Excellencies, we feel strongly that this Forum should yield tangible results, and that means decisions that are taken must be implemented without delay. As a way forward, we need to ensure that proper mechanisms are put in place to operationalise our undertakings on both sides, within the ambit of NEPAD. If we do so, we will see the fruits of this mutually beneficial partnership.

Distinguished delegates, allow me, before I conclude, to use this opportunity to acknowledge the significant role that China played in securing the liberation of Africa. Ours is a solidarity and friendship that was forged in the trenches of struggle.

We are happy that this solidarity and partnership has now extended to the current struggle, that of Africa's economic liberation.

Working together in partnership, we will be able to achieve our common goals.
I wish all delegates fruitful deliberations that will take our co-operation forward.
I thank you.

The Presidency: Republic of South Africa
15 December 2003

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