Senegalese President, Macky Sall, has called on African leaders to work more closely with China in order to achieve shared prosperity for the well-being of the African and Chinese peoples.
Sall made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which kicked off on Monday in Dakar.
According to the president, since FOCAC was established 21 years ago, Africa and China have moved forward pragmatically and effectively, as evidenced by the intensification of bilateral trade, investments, and the many achievements under various action plans.
He said the theme of the conference, “Deepen China-Africa Partnership and Promote Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era”, is highly relevant.
Sall said the ever-increasing changes and the global challenges should be the pillar to which Africa and China must adapt to further strengthen their relations of political and economic solidarity.
Noting that the friendship has been successfully tested against the Coronavirus, the president thanked China for its continued support for Africa’s health response and economic recovery efforts.
Sall proposed five priorities for the Ministerial Conference Roadmap, including health security, agricultural modernisation, technical and vocational training, infrastructure development, and the development of Africa’s industrial capacities.
The president encouraged Chinese companies to take a more confident and optimistic view of investing in Africa.
“Twenty-one years after its launch, we can be proud of the achievements of our Forum.
“Thanks to the collaboration of our States, our cities, our companies, and our peoples, in a spirit of friendly friendship, active solidarity, mutual trust and respect.
“Friendship, solidarity, trust, and respect. This is where the strength of our Forum lies.
“It is this force that must continue to carry our vision and ambitions for the future, in order to deepen the China-Africa partnership and promote sustainable development to build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.’’
President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also current Chairperson of the African Union also delivered his speech to the conference via video link.
He said the FOCAC conference, through constructive and sincere dialogue, would take a look at the progress made over the years and define the main orientations of China-Africa cooperation for the next three years.
According to Tshisekedi, the conference is held with the view to strengthening solidarity between stakeholders in the face of major challenges, including socio-economic development, climate change, security and stability as well as the establishment of justice and peace within the international community.
Azali Assoumani, President of the Comoros, also in a speech delivered via video link, said the historic achievements of Africa-China cooperation are undeniable and are the pride of our countries.
“Whether it is in the field of consolidating peace and security, eradicating poverty, or tackling climate change, the results of this cooperation make us gratified.
“We will do our best to ensure that this synergy effect continues to be consolidated, especially through the Belt and Road Initiative to achieve better connectivity and more efficient economic growth on our continents.’’