Remarks by Minister Nkoana-Mashabane at the Coordinators' Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Summit, Friday, 29 July 2016, Beijing, People's Republic of China
Your Excellency, Mr Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peoples Republic of China;
Your Excellency, Mr Gao Hucheng, Minister of Commerce, Peoples Republic of China;
Your Excellency, Mr Mousa Faki Mahamat, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Chad and current President of the African Union;
Your Excellency, Mr Qian Keming, Vice Minister of Commerce, Peoples Republic of China; and
Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Ms Fatima Haram Acyl; Your Excellencies Ambassadors accredited to the People’s Republic of China; Dear Colleagues; Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen;
At the outset, allow me to express my profound personal gratitude on behalf of the South African Government to the Government of the Peoples’ Republic of China, and the people of this Great Country for hosting all the representatives from African countries, including the guests of honour from regional and international organisations here today. We are also privileged to acknowledge the presence of friends from the business and academic communities and the media who have come to Beijing for this Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Coordinators’ Meeting.
Our meeting here today is a manifestation of the longstanding solidarity and friendship between China and Africa and extols the principles of "equality, sincerity, reciprocity and inclusiveness".
I also recall the historic Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in December 2015 that collectively reached important and unprecedented milestones in our Partnership. This being, not only because it was the first FOCAC Summit to be hosted on African soil nor only because of the 10 New Measures announced by H.E. President Xi Jinping to address the three main bottlenecks in African development, but also due to upgrading of the Africa-China Relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic and Cooperative Partnership.
To underpin the strategic cooperation President XI announced the most comprehensive development package for Africa valued at US$ 60 billion.
Following the Summit, I believe that this Coordinators Meeting is opportune, specifically as we need to continue to work towards the effective implementation of all of the outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit, in particular the Johannesburg Action Plan 2016-2018, in order to give full effect to the Africa-China Relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic and Cooperative Partnership.
As we interact here in Beijing, and in meetings still to come, the theme of the Johannesburg Summit, “Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development”, should be at the forefront of our minds. This theme not only encapsulates the spirit of the partnership between Africa and China, but embodies the dreams and aspirations of the people of Africa and China. As like-minded partners, China has recognised the importance of ensuring that financing goes to sustainable development initiatives and that they are responsive to the needs of Africa.
You will recall that the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was established at the turn of the century and coincided with the declaration of the 21st century as “Africa’s Century”.
The strategic formations of the FOCAC Partnership, based on the notion of equality, win-win- cooperation and mutual development of our countries, is, therefore, an affirmation of this aspiration.
We are pleased that there is a shared commitment between Africa and China that FOCAC will be qualitatively and quantitatively different from Africa’s painful historic past of exploitation and subjugation.
The ultimate success of the 2nd FOCAC Summit rests on all of us to collectively ensure the implementation of the Action Plan.
The qualitative advancement of the China-Africa relationship is embedded in the alignment of China’s Africa Policy to existing African aspirations, such as Agenda 2063 and its First Ten-Year Implementation Plan and the various African Development programmes.
China’s Africa Policy, as enshrined by FOCAC, aligns itself to the provisions that are already in place, including emphasising partnership and ownership from the African perspective that includes transfer of appropriate technologies, capacity-building and issues such as local sourcing of materials and labour, and value addition or beneficiation at source.
You will recall that the FOCAC Summit articulated a Ten Point Plan to give effect to the substantive enhancement of the partnership as well as to fast track the development of our people.
At the apex of this Ten Point Plan is, firstly, the drive for Industrialization which is a crucial centrepiece of this win-win collaboration and friendship. Using our comparative advantages we must accelerate our work together in promoting key enabling sectors. Linked to this, is the need for us to beneficiate our natural and mineral resources. This has been identified as a significant driver of economic growth, not least because it will create jobs for our growing young population; contribute to feeder industries; and develop Africa’s capacity to generate higher value exports by allowing us to use the minerals in the belly of African soil to nourish the belly of the African child. Currently, Africa and China are in discussions about launching the construction of “three networks and industrialization” in the African continent, including high-speed railway, road and air projects.
Secondly, we must work together to capacitate ourselves to reach our Continental ambitions. This includes, increasing people-to-people exchanges and cooperating on training and skills development focusing in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as these are critical to supporting the implementation of our medium- to long- term FOCAC development goals. Coupled to this, we must seek to enhance women and youth entrepreneurship, employment and innovation so that we can combat the scourges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Thirdly, we must accelerate our work to ensure that Africa becomes self-sufficient in food production and supply by modernising agriculture, increasing productivity, engaging our communities and farmers, in a full value chain, including agro-processing and agro-business. We should seek to align areas of cooperation specifically with the NEPAD’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
Fourthly, there can be no industrialisation without enhanced and clean and cost effective energy generation. We must use newer technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro.
Fifthly, we must accelerate our work to advance our efforts for common development through smoother and faster integration and connectedness.
Equally important is the need for China to open her market for Africa’s products and services. We must accelerate the implementation of our Memorandum of Understanding on infrastructure that includes Highways, Railways, Aviation and Industrialisation as well as the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Construction of Regional Infrastructure in Africa since the ability to move goods and people underpins our economic development objectives.
Africa and China must accelerate our efforts to find innovative and creative mechanisms to unblock any domestic regulatory and financial challenges to cooperation.
However, Africa also has the obligation to ensure the relevant levels of institutional readiness, capacities for delivery and feasibility of projects in order to meet the requirements of the FOCAC agreements and maximize on the potential gains thereof.
As we have consistently noted that the onus is now upon us to consolidate China- Africa solidarity and channel our collective energies rapidly and with single minded focus.
Having said that, we also are aware that the time we have available to us is precious and can be counted in days, weeks and months. This cycle of funding has been allocated up to 2018. As Africa, we need to understand that institutional readiness and coordination is critical in the process of identifying and implementing bankable projects in support of Agenda 2063 speedily and effectively.
FOCAC has a 3 year time span and we are well into the first year of this timeframe. This is all the more reason for us to accelerate our activities to ensure full delivery of the FOCAC Action Plan by 2018.
I thank you.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
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