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Mugabe hails China-initiated AIIB as voice of developing countries

(Xinhua)    13:57, April 24, 2015

BANDUNG, Indonesia, April 24 -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on Friday that the China-spearheaded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) displays the voice of the South.

The AIIB serves as an example of "the way and manner we ought to forge ahead if the voice of the South is going to matter in the international arena and affairs," Mugabe said during the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Asian-African Conference, or the Bandung Conference.

Citing inadequate representation of Asian-African countries in the world's multilateral system, Mugabe stressed that "time has come for us to revive the Spirit of Bandung" in order to more effectively push the development agenda of the South.

Time has also come to consider more options of securing the place of the South in global affairs, of which the AIIB is an example, according to the president.

His speech highlighted the fact that trade flows between Asia and Africa have increased rapidly, but in a highly imbalanced way.

One of the major factors accounting for the huge imbalance is the Asian-African trade pattern, in which Africa's exports are dominated by raw commodities and imports by manufactured goods.

"We can and must correct this unsustainable situation," he said, stressing that African countries have thus decided to transform their economies through resource-based, value-added industrialization programs and projects.

This economic transformation agenda "offers immense opportunities for deeper cooperation between our countries," through investment and technology transfers among other exchanges, said Mugabe, who is also co-chair of an Asian-African summit in Jakarta on Wednesday and Thursday.

"We thus invite our friends in Asia, many of whom already have a significant presence in many of our countries, to partner us in our industrialization projects through the beneficiation of and evaluation to the natural resources as abundantly available throughout the African continent," he said.

African countries have also decided to enhance the process of integration on the continent through construction, rehabilitation, as well as improvement of transport, energy, telecommunication and other infrastructure.

"This offers another window of possibilities for greater cooperation between our two regions," the president said.

He also underscored the need to "put in place programs that will bring our peoples in direct contact through cultural, sports, academic, business and other exchanges."

Asian-African solidarity would be devoid of character and substance if it did not express and manifest itself in greater understanding between the two regions' peoples, he noted.

"The value of our partnership should not be measured purely in trade terms, or monetary terms even, but more importantly, in the solidarity and friendship of our peoples," Mugabe said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Zhang Yuan,Bianji)

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