Working Luncheon: Remarks by Minister LN Sisulu on the occasion of the Seventh Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Beijing, China, 02 September 2018
Your Excellency, Mr Wang Yi, State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of China
Honourable Minister of Commerce, Mr Gao Hucheng
Ladies and gentlemen
I wish to thank our hosts for their extraordinary hospitality and the honour of addressing this luncheon of the 7th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC, where we have reflected on how we can further enrich relations between China and Africa.
Minister Wang Yi, I must commend the Chinese people for their meticulous planning, ingenuity and hard work resulting in People’s Republic of China’s current global status.
Today, the People’s Republic of China is the second largest economy in the world, valued at approximately $14 trillion and continues to grow at spectacular rates. All of this from a country that less than a hundred years ago, specifically after the Second World War, was at the same economic development level as some of our African countries and large parts of the country was colonised.
I believe that Africa as a continent on the rise, has a lot to learn from the Chinese experience and that FOCAC, as a platform for our continued closer cooperation, provides us with an opportunity to share these experiences to chart a path for Africa’s sustainable development and future prosperity.
We have seen the successes of this relationship; with African countries becoming more integrated and connected through the continued assistance of the People’s Republic of China. We also continue to see an increase in exchanges of business people, students, academics and scientists between China and our various African countries, which not only contributes to the development of skills but also validates further the enormous value of our relationship.
The Beijing Declaration and Action Plan (2019-2021) we have adopted and proposed for the Summit’s consideration are a further true reflection of the growing comprehensive strategic bonds of friendship between ourselves. We believe that we should continually strengthen these bonds through the sustained deepening of political and economic relations within the China-Africa FOCAC framework.
Importantly, we need to utilise FOCAC as an important mechanism to strengthen efforts to address the various emerging challenges besetting the world today, specifically the rising nationalistic ethos, populism, unilateralism, protectionism and the emergence of global trade wars.
Minister Wang, I am told that there is a Chinese proverb that says “former people plant trees, later people enjoy its shade.” We in South Africa celebrate Nelson Mandela centenary and enjoy the freedom he gave. It is in this spirit that I would like to urge all of us gathered here today, to be the generation that the succeeding generations would look back on with pride because we have established the roots of their prosperity.
Exellencies, let me conclude by saying that the time has now come for us to make FOCAC a transformative tool to change the lives of our people and future generations for the better.
May I now propose a toast to the resolve that the peoples of China and Africa continue to grow their bonds and create a better future for the next generation.
I wish the best of health to our gracious hosts, Minister Wang Yi, the people of China; and to the peoples of Africa. May our friendship and cooperation continue to grow.
I has been an honour serving in this capacity as co-chair and l leave this position fulfilled that we have done a good job.
Thank you and thank you to all of you for the support.
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