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Chinese premier's speech at conference of Chinese and African entrepreneurs (full text)

(Xinhua)

09:08, July 19, 2012

BEIJING, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Fourth Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs entitled as "Deepen Result-Oriented Cooperation And Promote Common Development".

The following is the full text of Wen's speech:

Deepen Result-Oriented Cooperation

And Promote Common Development

Speech by H.E. Wen Jiabao

Premier of the State Council of the People' s Republic of China

At the Opening Ceremony of

The Fourth Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs

Beijing, 18 July 2012

Your Excellency President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea,

Your Excellency President Issoufou of Niger,

Your Excellency Prime Minister Neves of Cape Verde,

Your Excellency Prime Minister Odinga of Kenya,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

This is the third time for me to attend the Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs. I am glad to see that exchanges and cooperation between the Chinese and African business communities have enjoyed such dynamic growth. On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to extend warm congratulations on the opening of the Fourth Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs and warm greetings and best wishes to conference participants.

When I made my first official overseas visit as China's premier in 2003, I went to Africa. During that visit, I attended the opening ceremony of the Second Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and visited Ethiopia. My visit to seven African countries in 2006 took me across the African continent, and the moving scenes of that visit still remain fresh in my mind. During the visit, I wrote a poem entitled I Have Come Home. In 2009, I visited Africa again and attended the opening ceremony of the Fourth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC. At that time, Africa had been hit by the international financial crisis. On behalf of the Chinese government, I announced eight new measures to strengthen China-Africa cooperation and support Africa's development. It demonstrated China's firm resolve to jointly meet the challenge with Africa.

Despite volatilities in the international situation in recent years, friendly cooperation between China and Africa, like a towering tree, has weathered the storms and continued to grow. It has not only yielded rich fruit, but also enhanced our friendship and mutual trust, which is more precious than gold. History has shown time and again that China and Africa are forever good friends, good partners and good brothers.

China-Africa business ties have seen exciting growth both in size and in structure.

- Bilateral trade has grown rapidly with improved trade mix. For three years in a row, China has been Africa' s biggest trading partner country. In 2011, bilateral trade rose to US$166.3 billion, up 83% over 2009. Africa' s exports to China doubled in three years with increasing varieties. African steel and copper products, fertilizers and other finished industrial products and more and more African agricultural products are available on China' s market.

- Notable progress has been made in cooperation in financing, and cooperation projects launched by China better meet Africa' s development needs. The international financial crisis has put African countries under huge pressure of funding shortage. The Chinese government delivered on its commitment of providing US$10 billion of lending of a preferential nature to Africa and supported Chinese financial institutions in increasing commercial loans to Africa. In launching cooperation projects, while ensuring economic returns, we give higher priority to their social benefits. We have completed a number of projects to increase production capacity and improve people' s well-being. These projects have enhanced Africa' s capacity for self-development.

- Chinese investment in Africa, made in increasingly diversified areas and ways, has registered strong growth. By June 2012, China had invested US$45 billion in Africa, including over US$15 billion of direct investment. Manufacturing, the financial sector and construction account for 60% and mining about 25% of Chinese investment in Africa. Over 2,000 Chinese companies of different types are operating in 50 African countries, and more than 85% of their staff are Africans. The building of China-Africa trade and economic cooperation zones is making smooth headway, driving Africa' s industrial growth.

- China has stepped up assistance to Africa, with greater emphasis on promoting sustainable development. In the past three years, China' s assistance to Africa has almost doubled. More assistance has been made in improving the well-being of the people, poverty reduction, disaster preparedness and mitigation and capacity building. China has built new schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and water supply facilities for Africa. We have sent a large number of agricultural specialists and medical personnel to Africa. We have trained a total of 21,000 African personnel in various fields. China provided emergency food aid several times to countries hit by famine in the Horn of Africa and other parts of Africa. We offered assistance to and have completed a group of agricultural demonstration centers and nearly 100 clean energy projects in Africa. These efforts have boosted Africa' s capacity to meet challenges such as food security and climate change.

At the same time, we need to be aware that in the process of the rapid growth of China-Africa economic cooperation, some long-standing issues are yet to be thoroughly resolved and some new problems have emerged. I know that you hope that China will buy more finished products made in Africa and high value-added products from Africa, make more investment in broader areas, provide more funding, step up technology transfer and better address the concerns of African businesses. These hopes and concerns are justified, and the Chinese government takes them very seriously. We are working with African countries to find effective solutions to these issues. We have full confidence in China-Africa business cooperation, and I am sure that the future holds ever greater promise for our business ties.


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