By Liu Youfa (China Daily)
Both sides agree to work together to promote common development and a just global governance mechanism
The Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China and Africa Cooperation was held in Beijing on Thursday and Friday. President Hu Jintao attended the opening ceremony and delivered the keynote speech, during which he detailed the achievements of Sino-African cooperation over the past 12 years, outlined the bright future of the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa, and announced a series of policy measures that the Chinese government will implement to further promote bilateral cooperation.
"China wholeheartedly and sincerely supports African countries choosing their own development path, and will wholeheartedly and sincerely support them to raise their development ability," Hu said.
The ministerial conference reached a consensus on how to jointly protect and promote the interests of common development, and coordinated policy to further realize common development in the next few years. The ministerial conference also issued the Beijing Declaration of the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Beijing Action Plan (2013-2015). The Declaration stated that the development of the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa is of great significance for the peace, stability and development of the world. The Action Plan highlighted more cooperation in fields such as people to people exchanges and African integration.
Both sides agreed to carry out further policy coordination and cooperation in international affairs, to jointly protect the principles and guidelines of the UN Charter and actively promote the democratization of international relations, and to oppose the "big bullying the small, the strong domineering over the weak, and the rich oppressing the poor". Both sides will cooperate to protect their development space, promote the construction of a more open and free global governance mechanism, carry out further strategic dialogues, exchange experience on national governance, promote mutual trust, and broaden friendly cooperation.
China once again made the commitment to be a good friend and partner to the African people, to continue its support of the collective efforts of African countries to become strong through unity, and to open up new prospects for the partnership between China and Africa.
Economic security serves as the bedrock for China and Africa to realize their sustainable development, and the two sides agreed to join hands to promote harmonious and balanced development of the world economy, and to push for the development benefits to flow to more developing countries. They also agreed to promote the long overdue reform of international economic and financial institutions, "to make them just and reasonable and suited to the political realities of the world". Meanwhile, the two sides also agreed to tackle tough issues such as investment, finance and African interconnectivity, and to create new areas to promote two-way trade and investment, and to jointly address "economic growing pains". They will work together to promote the capacity of both sides to realize independent development and to raise the status of both sides in the global production and value chains, and they will strengthen cooperation to address traditional and non-tradition security challenges, such as climate change, food security and poverty.
With the consent of African countries, China will strive to create an effective security environment for the relevant countries to realize sustainable development. By providing greater assistance, in line with its comprehensive national power, to the peacekeeping and peace building operations of the United Nations and the African Union, and by creating more training opportunities for African countries, it will help them build up their capacity to maintain peace and promote stability.
Both sides pledged to further strengthen political consultation and strategic dialogue, and increase cooperation in Africa's Peace and Security Architecture. China will also strengthen its cooperation with the African Union and sub-regional organizations in Africa, and continue to provide humanitarian assistance in collaboration with the international community.
The author is vice-president of China Institute of International Studies.