|Statement by Ambassador Wang Min, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the 67th Session of the General Assembly Under Agenda Items 63(a) "New Partnership for Africa's Development: Progress in Implementation and International Support" and 63(b) "Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa"|
Facing the impact of the international financial crisis in recent years, African countries have made independent and unremitting efforts to promote the integration process, strengthen international cooperation, maintained a sound momentum of stability and development and made big strides in implementing the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The establishment of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency has promoted the implementation of projects in such key areas as infrastructure, agriculture, food security and health care, and enhanced the consistency and coordination of development endeavors of African countries. We are heartened by the achievements made by Africa and full of confidence in the continent.
This being said, one must also see the challenges. World economies continue to slow down. The impact of the financial crisis is still reverberating. The overall growth rate in Africa is still below the pre-crisis level of 6.5%, which is not strong enough to support substantial reduction in poverty. Official Development Aid (ODA) to Africa, though increased somewhat since 2004, is still far from what has been pledged. The international financial crisis and the sovereign debt crisis in Europe have resulted in mounting pressure on the sustainability of Africa's debts, reduced direct foreign investment in Africa and deterioration of trade environment for Africa. Local conflicts in some parts of Africa persist and humanitarian crisis has aggravated. Africa, the Sub-Saharan region in particular, is confronted with huge challenges in achieving the Millennium Development Goals as scheduled.
Walking into the second decade of NEPAD, the international community should continue to increase attention and input to Africa and promote greater progress in the implementation of NEPAD so as to promote stability and prosperity in Africa. In this context, China wishes to put forward the following suggestions.
First, strengthen development partnership. Developed countries should demonstrate greater political will and fully honor their aid and debt-reduction commitments to Africa at an early date. The international community should do its best to expand assistance to Africa, increase aid for trade and promote early conclusion of the Doha round trade negotiations so as to improve trade environment for African countries. The General Assembly resolution should be fully implemented to strengthen the monitoring mechanism to review commitments made towards Africa's development. In recent years, South-South cooperation has gained rapid development, giving a forceful boost to economic and social development in Africa. We support efforts to further tap the potential of South-South cooperation and leverage the advantages of this type of cooperation to contribute more to the implementation of NEPAD. However, south-south cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South cooperation.
Second, increase UN's support for Africa. Recent years have seen progress in UN's regional initiatives to support and help Africa. Priority should continue to be given to Africa's special development needs to ensure the work priorities of UN agencies are consistent with priority areas of NEPAD. The implementation of the post-2015 development agenda and the follow-up actions to implement the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) should also give special consideration to Africa's needs.
Third, respect Africa's ownership. In recent years, African countries have made enormous efforts and scored marked achievements in economic reforms, conflict resolution and governance capacity-building. Africa is fully capable of controlling its own development agenda. The international community should respect Africa's realities and the will of African countries, support their independent effort to handle their own affairs, further remove conditions attached to assistance and improve the predictability and transparency of aid.
In the past six years since the establishment of the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership, China has deepened its relations with African countries and regional organizations including the African Union. China has rendered active support for Africa's integration and kept increasing its support for NEPAD. In the recent three years, China's assistance to Africa has nearly doubled in total amount and increasingly tilted to such areas as improving people's lives, poverty reduction and alleviation, disaster prevention and mitigation and capacity building. We have build new schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and water supply projects for Africa. China made good its commitment of providing US$15 billion of lending of a preferential nature to Africa. With sustained effort to expand trade with and investment in Africa, China has been Africa's largest trading partner for three consecutive years. Africa's export to China has grown by a large margin and got doubled in the past three years. China's direct investment in Africa has exceeded US$15 billion in accumulative terms, with investment projects covering 50 African countries.
At the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in July this year in Beijing, President Hu Jintao announced the measures in several priority areas that the Chinese government is to take in the next three years to support peace and development in Africa.
l China will provide 20 billion dollars of credit line to African countries to assist them in developing infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and small and medium-sized enterprises;
l China will build more agricultural technology demonstration centers as necessary to help African countries increase production capacity;
l China will help African countries enhance capacity building in meteorological infrastructure and forest protection and management. China will continue to carry out well-drilling and water supply projects in Africa to provide safe drinking water for the African people;
l China will encourage established Chinese companies and financial institutions to take part in transnational and trans-regional infrastructural development in Africa;
l China will help African countries upgrade customs and commodity inspection facilities to promote intra-regional trade facilitation, and
l China will launch the "Initiative on China-Africa Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Security," deepen cooperation with the AU and African countries in peace and security in Africa, provide financial support for the AU peace-keeping missions in Africa and the development of the African Standby Force, and train more officials in peace and security affairs and peace-keepers for the AU.
China-Africa cooperation is conducted as the two sides face similar circumstances and common mission of development, and therefore is highly constructive and promising. China attaches no political strings to its aid for Africa. China and Africa have drawn on each other's strengths in their cooperation with a view to achieving common development, and such cooperation has provided opportunities for both sides. China will give genuine support to African countries' independent choice of development paths and genuinely help African countries strengthen capacity for self development. China will forever be a good friend, good partner and good brother of the African people. China will continue to be guided by an open and inclusive approach and work with other countries and international organizations to help promote development and prosperity and uphold peace and stability in Africa.
Thank you, Mr. President.