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AU, China vow to take relations to new height

Updated: Nov 15,2015 9:21 AM     Xinhua

ADDIS ABABA — The African Union (AU) and China have vowed to further strengthen the relations and cooperation between the two sides.

Vice-Minister of Commerce Qian Keming on Nov 13 met and held discussions with Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairperson of the AU Commission, at the AU Headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

The two sides deliberated on various issues of common concern and ways of further enhancing the overall cooperation between them.

The vice-commerce minister and the deputy chairperson also signed the exchange notes of cash amounting to $2 million from China to the AU Commission followed by a hand-over ceremony of computer equipment donated by China to the pan-African institution.

China has provided the stated amount of cash to support and strengthen the public health system in Africa, and the cash donation from China will be used in the preparation for the establishment of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

During their discussion, Mwencha stated that the cooperation between Africa and China has been growing and getting strengthened in different areas including political, economic and people-to-people relations.

The deputy chairperson noted that China is currently the largest trading partner of Africa, and the Sino-African economic relationship continues to grow at an accelerated pace.

“The Sino-African relationship has been built based on mutual benefit; mutual respect; and mutual understanding; and extends beyond trade, investment, industry and transportation,” noted Mwencha.

He also stated that China and Africa share a lot in common in the international arena.

He said that the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC) has provided a valuable platform since its establishment in 2000 for Africa-China dialogue on key issues of development for both parties.

The deputy chairperson commended China for its cooperation with Africa and the support to the AU at institutional level.

He stated that the appointment of China’s mission to AU also underscores China’s taking its relations with AU to a new level.

Mwencha also thanked the people and government of China for the support extended to Africa during the Ebola crisis on the continent.

Qian reiterated that the cooperation between AU and China has shown remarkable progress in broad areas.

He said trade and investment between China and Africa is booming.

Reiterating that FOCAC has served an important platform for China and Africa, the vice-minister said the upcoming FOCAC summit, which is due to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, would dwell upon important areas that will contribute to deepen the cooperation between China and Africa.

According to the vice-minister, President Xi Jinping is expected to announce a three-year package for the cooperation with Africa in areas including industrialization, agriculture modernization, and infrastructure development.

Qian said China is preparing for the summit, which he said plays a positive role to Agenda 2063 of Africa.

The vice-minister led a Chinese commercial delegation to Ethiopia for a four-day working visit from Nov 11 to 14, whereby he also met and held discussions with senior government officials of Ethiopia.

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