Officials and experts from China and Africa met on Tuesday at the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the China-Africa Poverty Reduction and Development Conference.
Officials at the opening of the Conference highlighted that Africa draws lesson from China’s success story on poverty reduction through industrial development.
The three-day Conference focuses on “Industrial Development: Cross-Perspectives from Africa and China”, and expected to discuss strategies and polices as well as to share knowledge and exchange experience between China and Africa on poverty reduction and development.
Eugen Owusu, UN Development Program Resident Representative in Ethiopia, noted that China has managed to lift millions of its citizens out of poverty in a short period of time.
Africa can benefit from China’s experience by using its collective institutions such as the African Union, said Owusu. “The success of China is quite inspiring, and we Africans are learning from that experience and intend to take more advantage of our privileged partnership with China to progress,” said Fatima Haram Acyl, AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry. The Commissioner stated that the trade between Africa and China has been growing rapidly, especially in recent years.
“In 2010, total trade between Africa and China exceeded 130 billion U.S. dollars, and by 2013, it topped 210 billion dollars, making China, Africa’s biggest trading partner, compared to Africa’ s trade with EU at 137 billion dollars and with the U.S. at 96 billion dollars, although the bulk of the trade is still resource commodities,” she said.
The Official further said that the Africa-China relations have been deepening politically as well.
In 2000, the cooperation between Africa and China was institutionalized through the establishment of the Forum on China- Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), she said, adding the instrument of cooperation has deeply contributed to strengthening the strategic partnership between Africa and China.
Officially opening the Conference, Ethiopia’s President Mulatu Teshome said “benchmarking China’s experience of rapid industrialization will have significant positive impact should Africa emulate.”
“China and Africa are sincere friends and China’s support will greatly enable Africa to accelerate its rapidly growing economy,” said the President.
“The role of China in human development, infrastructure connectivity and technology transfer is quite significant and China’s investment in Africa is growing from time to time and we are thankful to China’s unwavering support for Africa’s economic development,” he said.
Si Shujie, Chinese Vice Minister of the State of Council Leading Group office of Poverty Alleviation and Development (LGOP), underlined that the conference facilitates the communications and the cooperation between China and Africa on inclusive development and poverty alleviation.
Recalling that such first conference was held in November 2010, the Vice Minister revealed that various discussions have been held on economic cooperation, agriculture modernization, poverty reduction and sustainable employment and other issues of common concern of China and Africa.
The annual conference enables to share knowledge as well as to enhance mutual understanding and development cooperation between the two parties, he said.
“Chinese government always attaches great importance to the cooperation and communication with African Union.”
He recalled that Chinese Premier visited to Africa in May whereby China and Africa outlined to further strengthen cooperation on poverty reduction and other issues of common concern.
Xie Xiaoyan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, said China and Africa have attached great importance to poverty reduction and achieved substantial progress over the past years.
“Poverty remains one of main global challenges. As the biggest developing country and the continent with the largest number of developing countries in the world, China and Africa in comparison are facing more severe poverty challenges,” said the Ambassador.
Stating that China has accumulated experience on poverty reduction in more than 30 years, the Ambassador reiterated his country’s strong commitment to further strengthening cooperation with Africa on poverty reduction and industrial development on the continent.
“The Chinese characteristics on poverty reduction include the very important practice of industrial development, especially the development of labor-intensive industries such as manufacturing,” noted Xie.
The Conference will specifically look into three areas under this theme: scenario analysis of challenges and opportunities for Africa’s industrial development in an increasingly integrated and globalized economy building on regional and global value chains; experience from rapidly industrializing countries in both Africa and Asia to unleash industrial growth for equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth; and developing robust public-private partnerships to promote innovation and technology transfer for sustainable economic and social transformation in Africa.