Address of the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Thabo Mbeki, at the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) Summit, Great Hall of The People, Beijing, China, 5 November 2006

Your Excellency, President of the People's Republic of China, Hu Jintao,
Your Excellency, Co-Chair of the Roundtable and Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi,
Your Excellencies,
Honourable Ministers and delegations,

On behalf of my delegation, the government and people of South Africa, I convey the warmest greetings to the government and people of the People's Republic of China.

Your Excellency, we are deeply honoured by China's generous and kind hospitality. This seminal Roundtable and Business Dialogue give all of us the opportunity to redefine the real meaning of our strategic partnership within the context of the summit's theme, "Friendship, peace, co-operation and development."

China's commitment to Africa has already been demonstrated through tangible and concrete results particularly in terms of human resource development (HRD), debt relief and investment. Africa is also committed to China's development and this is evident through the supply of raw materials, other products and technology transfer.

It is necessary that we lock in investments in addressing supply side constraints, diversification and beneficiation of the resources derived from African countries through encouraging joint ventures between Africa and China.

As we renew our continent and endeavour to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we need to develop our infrastructure and build skills and expertise to enhance our own aim of a better life for all.

Mr President, as you said at the welcoming banquet last night, China is a developing country facing many problems and challenges in economic and social development. Your Excellency went on to say,

"The Chinese people are now endeavouring to build a moderately prosperous society in an all round way and accelerate the socialist modernisation drive. Our overall goal is to quadruple the gross domestic product (GDP) of 2000 by 2020 so that we will achieve greater progress in the economy, democracy, science, education and culture, and make society more harmonious and ensure a better life for our people."

The African continent also faces developmental challenges that derive from pervasive poverty and underdevelopment. As Africa harnesses its abundant natural and human resources (HR), we welcome a fair and equitable partnership with China so that we all achieve and accelerate our economic growth and prosperity.

The Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU) embodies the principles upon which the African continent bases its collective action.

The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is a home-grown and internationally agreed framework for the socio-economic development of our continent. The primary objectives of NEPAD are to eradicate poverty, to halt the marginalisation of Africa and to integrate African countries into the global economy.

May we use this forum as a stepping stone towards transforming our continental relationship with China based on a shared vision and understanding of our developmental challenges and the advancement of the NEPAD's objectives.

Our strategic partnership should strive for a fair and equitable global trading system that is characterised by transparency, good corporate governance, predictability and poverty alleviation and eradication.

As we redefine our relationship and seek trade and investment opportunities of mutual benefit, we must adopt a dynamic approach to our strategic partnership so that we all win in Africa, with Africa and similarly win in China, with China.

A winning partnership is surely one in which we encourage sustainable trade and investment while promoting a better life for all within sustainable human settlements. Peace and friendship will surely flourish when we empower and uplift the poorest of the poor from hunger and unemployment, disease, homelessness, illiteracy and environmental degradation.

In that spirit, our collective, powerful and united voice should continuously echo the summit's theme. For as partners in friendship and peace, our co-operation can only but succeed in promoting mutually beneficial prosperity and sustainable development.

Thank you!

Issued by: The Presidency
5 November 2006

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