Beijing-Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday that China is willing to cooperate with Africa to forge closer business ties, noting that China welcomes African entrepreneurs who want to come to China to do business and that Beijing also encourages Chinese businessmen to invest in Africa.
Xi made the remarks in a speech at the opening ceremony of the High-Level Dialogue between Chinese and African Leaders and Business Representatives, and the Sixth Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs held on the sidelines of the 2018 Beijing summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China adopting reform and opening-up policy, a landmark program that helped the country become the world second largest economy as it is now.
Both China and Africa share the same dream for development, Xi said, adding that China is willing to work with the African people to build China-Africa relations as a role model for South-South Cooperation.
He said China supports the African countries in jointly building the Belt and Road so they can share the win-win outcomes.
Proposed by Xi in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative comprises of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes.
China stands ready to strengthen comprehensive cooperation with the African countries and build a path of high-quality development that is suited to national conditions, inclusive, and beneficial to all, he noted.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who also delivered a speech, described China as an old friend of Africa. He spoke highly of China’s contributions to Africa’s development in areas such as manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, finance, peace and security, tourism and aviation.
African countries look forward to working with China in new fields like the green economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Ramaphosa said.
Some business representatives told CGTN that unlike the West’s way of investment, which for decades has deprived Africa of real economic independence, China brings them with plans to help the continent with industrialization, food security, public health and disease prevention.
“When the West came to Africa, they developed a lot of infrastructure leading out of Africa, “said Carole Kariuki, CEO of Kenya’s KEPSA (a leading counsel for the shopping centre industry in East Africa). “But we see China coming in and working with Africa governments leading infrastructure inside, inland of Africa.”
The way of China-Africa cooperation helps strengthen connectivity in and between countries on the continent, she stressed.