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Wang Yi Attends the Reception Celebrating the 58th Africa Day

On May 25, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended and addressed the reception celebrating the 58th Africa Day in Beijing.

On behalf of the Chinese government, Wang Yi extended congratulations to the African diplomatic envoys to China and the African countries and people. Wang Yi said, the Africa Day is an important anniversary for the African people to fight for independence and strengthen unity. 58 years ago, under the banner of Pan-Africanism, the Organization of African Unity was born, ushering in the process of strengthening Africa's unity, development and revitalization. In recent years, Africa has obtained increasing momentum of solidarity, cooperation, peace and development, significantly improved its collective influence and played an increasingly important role in international affairs.

Wang Yi stressed that the Africa Day is also a festival shared by both China and Africa. It's an unchanging priority of China's diplomacy to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with African countries. China and Africa have fought shoulder to shoulder in the great struggle for national independence and national dignity, walked hand in hand in the grand quest to grow the economy and improve people's livelihood, and supported each other on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns. No matter how the international situations may change, the friendship between China and Africa will remain as firm as a rock and stand firm as ever.

In the face of the challenge of COVID-19, China and Africa have helped each other to overcome the difficulties together. China will never forget the firm support given to China by African countries and the African Union in the difficult time of fighting against the pandemic. President Xi Jinping always kept the pandemic in Africa in mind and spoke with 11 African leaders at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 convened in June, 2020, which demonstrated the special friendship between China and Africa that we share weal and woe. The Chinese government has provided several batches of emergency supplies and vaccines for African countries, dispatched anti-pandemic medical expert teams to Africa, carried out cooperation with local hospitals, trained local healthcare workers, and started the construction of the headquarters of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) ahead of schedule, which demonstrated the true meaning of the China-Africa community with a shared future. China has actively participated in the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative and made China's contribution to helping African friends pull through.

China has remained Africa's largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years and maintained steady growth in direct investment in Africa. Over 1,100 cooperation projects have been running to help Africa resume work and production. The China-Africa cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative has been deepening and yielding solid results. 46 African countries and the African Union Commission have signed cooperation agreements with China. Last November, we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). At present, over 85 percent of the eight initiatives proposed at the 2018 Beijing Summit have been implemented, and a large number of cooperation projects have taken root, providing strong support for Africa's economic recovery.

Facing the changes of international situations, China and Africa have upheld justice and supported each other. We have held high the banner of multilateralism and jointly made our just voice against politicization of the pandemic, racial discrimination and external interference. Last week, China and Africa jointly launched the Initiative on Partnership for Africa's development at the UN Security Council Open Debate on "Peace and Security in Africa: Addressing Root Causes of Conflict in Post-Pandemic Recovery in Africa". This is an important embodiment of China and Africa's efforts to strengthen solidarity and coordination and promote equity and justice under the new situation. It is also an important contribution we have made to deepening global cooperation and advancing multilateralism.

Wang Yi said that this year is of unique and great importance to both China and Africa. China will hold grand celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and embark on the new journey of fully building a modern socialist country. The next meeting of the FOCAC will make new plans for the future development of China-Africa relations. I would like to put forward four suggestions for creating new prospects for China-Africa cooperation.

First, we need to move with the times and make the next meeting of the FOCAC a great success. We need to demonstrate the FOCAC's spirit of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to overcome the impact of COVID-19 and make good preparations for the meeting based on the actual situation in China and Africa. We need to continue to deepen the Belt and Road cooperation between China and Africa, promote further alignment of the development strategies of both sides, and develop targeted cooperation initiatives regarding priority fields of healthcare, investment and trade, industrialization, agricultural security, climate change, peace and security, human resources and digital economy. China will closely cooperate with Africa to ensure the success of the meeting.

Second, we need to stand together and join hands to defeat the pandemic at an early date. China will continue to provide vaccines and pandemic control supplies for African countries, facilitate their purchase of vaccines in China, and promote the cooperation of joint vaccine production. China unequivocally supports African countries' legitimate appeal for waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines and is committed to eliminating the "vaccine divide". China is willing to accelerate the construction of Africa CDC headquarters, to strengthen Africa's general capacity of pandemic control.

Third, we need to pursue common development and promote sound and steady practical cooperation. We need to implement more high-standard and people-centered cooperation projects to support the integration of the African continent, Africa's industrialization process, and its autonomous and sustainable development. China stands ready to encourage Chinese companies to expand their investment and trade in Africa and import quality African products. In the second half of the year, China will release its report of private investment in Africa to further expand China-Africa cooperation.

Fourth, we need to pursue equity and justice and enhance coordination and cooperation on international affairs. We need to jointly uphold the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and safeguard the central role of the United Nations in international affairs. We need to strongly oppose new confrontations between blocs and all forms of power politics, practice true multilateralism, and defend the common interests of developing countries.

Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in China and Ambassador of Cameroon to China Martin Mpana said in his speech that the joint celebration of Africa Day is an epitome of the friendship and solidarity between Africa and China and is conducive to promoting close cooperation between the two sides. The world is undergoing profound changes and adjustments when countries are increasingly correlated and interdependent. Africa and China need to jointly uphold multilateralism and make good preparations for the FOCAC meeting, to send a strong message of the joint promotion of equity, justice, peace and cooperation by Africa and China. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. Inspired by the tremendous achievements China has made under the CPC's leadership, African countries would like to extend the warmest congratulations to the CPC.

Martin Mpana also read out the written speech of the Chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat.

On May 25, 1963, the Organization of African Unity, the predecessor of the African Union, was established, and May 25 was designated as Africa Day. The African Diplomatic Corps in China holds a celebratory reception in Beijing every year. This year's reception was co-hosted by China and the African Diplomatic Corps and was attended by ambassadors or chargé d'affaires a.i. from 53 African countries, and the representative of the African Union to China.

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