On May 22, 2017, when jointly meeting the press in Abidjan with Minister of African Integration and Ivorians Abroad Ally Coulibaly of Cote d’Ivoire, Foreign Minister Wang Yi answered questions about feelings of the visits to four African countries.
Wang Yi noted that I had three main feelings of the visits to the four African countries:
First, the visit to Africa is right after the successful convening of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Therefore, the four countries have proposed to participate and be incorporated into President Xi Jinping’s proposal of “Belt and Road” construction in different degrees. I think that this is not only the aspirations of the four countries, but the embodiment of the voice of the whole African continent. Many countries in Africa are the natural and historical extension of the Maritime Silk Road. They can be cooperation partners as long as they agree with the spirit and concept of the “Belt and Road” initiative. The day before yesterday, a friend in Cape Verde told me that hundreds of years ago, China’s fleet had bypassed the Cape of Good Hope and arrived in Cape Verde on the west coast of Africa, leaving some historical evidences. This may be a true story, or perhaps just a beautiful legend, yet it shows that African people acknowledge the Silk Road at the very bottom of their hearts and they look forward to advancing their own development and revitalization through the “Belt and Road” construction. The “Belt and Road” initiative aims to align development strategies of different countries, seek complementary advantages and achieve common development and prosperity. In fact, this initiative is a rebalance move in the process of economic globalization, and its ultimate goal is to build a community of shared destiny for mankind. We can better combine the ten major China-Africa cooperation plans proposed by President Xi Jinping with the “Belt and Road” initiative, allowing the ten major plans to gain a broader perspective and more everlasting power through the joint construction of the “Belt and Road”, and while effectively carrying out the “Belt and Road” initiative through the implementation of these cooperation plans.
Second, I have visited Africa for many times, but this time, I feel more strongly than ever that African countries are eager to get rid of a single growth mode that relies solely on exporting resources. African countries hope to achieve political independence and economic independence through accelerating the industrialization process and improving independent development capability. By conducting comparison, they all believe that China is the best and most reliable cooperation partner of Africa and they are willing to benefit from the fast development of China’s economy. Many landmark buildings of African countries were built with direct or indirect assistance provided by China. Moreover, lots of livelihood projects and infrastructure projects are also the work of Chinese enterprises. China-Africa cooperation is entering a new stage of quality improving and upgrading and China is willing to tailor the cooperation plan with each African country according to their different needs, thus helping them improve independent and sustainable development capacity. The development of Africa is an enhancement of the overall strength of developing countries, which is in line with the common interests of China and Africa.
Third, China-Africa friendship enjoys a glorious tradition, yielding fruitful achievements. In Mauritania, the port built with China’s help in the 1980s is still creating some important economic and social benefits and supporting the development of the country. The port is known as the “Friendship Port “. With China’s assistance in roads and infrastructure construction, the well-known poverty-stricken delta back then has become the “delta of hope”. These achievements not only represent the friendship between China and Mauritania, but also an epitome of the China-Africa friendship. For years, China has not only provided selfless help for Africa in terms of economy, but also played an active role in fields where African people were in desperate need, such as health care, peace and security. China’s medical team has been in Africa for more than half a century. Groups of Chinese doctors have been dispatched to involve themselves in some rural and grass-root level to heal the wounded and rescue the dying. According to statistics, the number of Africans who received medical treatment from and were saved by Chinese medical teams has exceeded 200 million so far. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cape Verde told me that 23 years ago when his wife encountered dystocia and at that critical moment, it was Chinese doctors that saved his wife and the baby out of danger and even up to now, they are still quite grateful. In fact, similar things are happening everywhere in Africa and all of these warm and moving stories contribute to building a monument of friendship between Chinese and African people. In recent years, China has accelerated the participation in peace and security affairs in Africa. So far, there are more than 2,000 Chinese soldiers in Africa implementing the UN peacekeeping missions and they fight in the most dangerous areas in Africa as well as make crucial contributions to Africa’s peace and security. One year ago, a Chinese peacekeeping soldier sacrificed his young life during a mission in Mali and this time the leader of Mali once again expressed his inner gratitude and sentiment to us.
Africa is a promising continent and China will always stand together with African brothers and sisters in the process of Africa’s development and revitalization to help them realize their dreams and embrace a better future at an early date.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.