African leaders eye closer cooperation with China

BEIJING, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- African leaders said here Monday that their continent stands ready to further cement its partnership with China and promote win-win cooperation under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

They made the remarks at the High-Level Dialogue Between Chinese and African Leaders and Business Representatives and Sixth Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs, held on the sidelines of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

The Beijing summit "reflects the unique as well as the strategic nature of our partnership," South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who co-chairs the two-day FOCAC summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, said at the dialogue.

The Africa-China partnership "facilitates the realization of Africa's developmental aspirations reflected in Agenda 2063 through pragmatic collaboration in the quest of win-win cooperation," he added.

"I am convinced that the FOCAC has taken the comprehensive strategic partnership journey further and to higher levels," Ramaphosa said.

Speaking on behalf of leaders of North African countries, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said "China and Africa enjoy sound cooperation in trade."

He noted that China has put forward the important Belt and Road Initiative, while the African Continental Free Trade Area is gradually taking shape and African countries are making progress in seeking development paths that suit their national conditions.

Such moves will help upgrade China's trade and investment cooperation with North African as well as other African countries, he added.

North African countries expect to deepen understanding and cooperation with other countries and promote peace, stability and sustainable development in the world, he said.

"Therefore, the countries need to work together to secure our achievements through win-win cooperation," the Mauritanian president said.

Also at the dialogue, Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh said the Africa-China partnership is based on win-win cooperation and mutual benefit.

On behalf of East Africa, Guelleh said the region is delighted that it will continue to benefit from the many advantages of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China.

"China's investment and involvement in East Africa date back to more than 40 years ago, which demonstrate not only the depth of our friendship, but more importantly, how China, even when it was trying to develop itself and lift its people out of poverty, always extended the hand of friendship to Africa and believed in our success," he said.

China and East Africa have grown together, he said, adding that the region is pleased to see that win-win cooperation and friendship have only deepened and helped better the lives of the Chinese and African people.

In his keynote speech at the meeting, Xi said China stands ready to strengthen comprehensive cooperation with African countries to build a path of high-quality development that is suited to respective national conditions, inclusive and beneficial to all.

Realizing common prosperity for the people of all nations, including the people of Africa, is an important part of building a community with a shared future for humanity, Xi said in his speech themed "walk together towards prosperity."

FOCAC was formally founded in 2000. Since then China and African countries have held the 2006 Beijing summit and the 2015 Johannesburg summit, which have promoted cooperation between the two sides and produced fruitful results.