Address by Dr. Jean Ping Former President of the African Commission
At the China International Friendship Conference in Commemoration of the 60 Anniversary of the CPAFFC
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indeed a special honor for me to be invited to this highly significant 60th anniversary of the establishment of the CPAFFC. Allow me to take this opportunity to pay tribute to China for its paramount contribution to world civilization and for developing deep roots of solidarity and friendship amongst nations.
During the past sixty years China has taken a giant step forward on the world scene. Indeed China represents today the most impressive case of economic catching up process in history. In only a few decades it has evolved from a poor developing Third World country to a major Super Power with a dominant global economy in the 21st century.
This celebration enables us to take stock of our glorious past and present and to help pave the way forward. I should like to recall that we both come from vast and ancient continents. We in Africa have the fossils of Lucy and you have the Peking Man. We have the Pyramids and the Pharaohs; you have the Great Wall of China, and the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor. We both have ancient traditions and customs. We share some common values—we believe in hospitality, community responsibility, well-being, friendship and solidarity. We both have enormous economic potentials.
We Africans never forget that in 1955 our two continents— Africa and Asia came together and convened the Bandung Conference in Indonesia, which laid the foundation for decolonization and our political independence and for strengthening the role of Afro-Asian solidarity.
Eight years later in 1963 our two continents were extremely active with China in setting up the Group of ’77 (G-77) aimed at defending collective economic interests of the Third World. A year later China’s Prime Minister Zhou Enlai made his historical visit to Africa.
In 1974 the G-77 secured the adoption by the United Nations of a Declaration calling for a New International Economic Order (NIEO). This Order aimed notably to stabilize and raise the prices of the commodities that G-77 members relied on to earn foreign exchange and to overcome the deterioration of their terms of trade.
Today China has become the main source of capital flow in the world and the first source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa. It is also our first commercial partner. Furthermore for the first time in the history of international trade, the long occurring deterioration of the terms of trade which constituted the main claim of the G-77 has now been drastically improved and even reversed. The price of raw materials, which was constantly dropping, increased dramatically thanks to China’s high demand. Moreover, your country has become the cradle for manufactured low cost goods. What seemed impossible to achieve in spite of decades of UN and UNCTAD conferences has now been suddenly accomplished. Africa is now growing rapidly with an average rate of growth of almost 6% with some countries reaching two figure rates of growth.
China has an instrumental role to play in improving the present economic order. This year, 50 years after Zhou Enlai’s historical visit to Africa, the Prime Minister Li Keqiang has just finished his touring of Africa.
Intercultural dialogue has become a prerequisite for peace at local, national and international levels. May China and Africa join forces for fostering and securing such dialogue, and for ensuring fair trade and sustainable development which will greatly enable us to live together in peace, in friendship and in dignity.
Thank you for your kind attention.