ADDIS ABABA — Officials of China and Africa have underlined the need to further strengthen the Sino-China relation and friendship based on past successes and their longstanding historic ties between the two sides.
This came on May 23 during the launch of presentation a book prepared by China on the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA) project, entitled “A Monument to China-Africa Friendship; Firsthand Account of the Building of the TAZARA,” on the premises of the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
China financed and built the TAZARA project that covers a total length of 1,860.5 kilometers running from Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam in the east to New Kapiri Mposhi in central Zambia in the west.
TAZARA is the main rail line connecting East Africa with the central and southern parts of the African continent, and is reputed among Africans as the “Railway of Freedom” and the “Railway of Friendship.”
China deployed more than 50,000 workers who collaborated together with Tanzanian and Zambian workers to complete the construction of the project in five years and eight months, and whose official inauguration was held in 1976.
China says the book will provide a deeper understanding of the exceptional courage and great vision of the leaders of the pioneer generation, the devotion and selflessness of the Chinese who participated in the construction of the TAZARA, and the deep-rooted China-Africa friendship and its bright future.
In his presentation on the book, Wang Yajun, Chinese Director General at Policy Planning Department of the Foreign Ministry, stated that the book has been compiled based on in-depth study on related historical materials and wide range of interviews in China, Tanzania, and Zambia.
He recalled that about 65 Chinese workers lost their lives on soil of Africa during the construction of the project.
In 2013 President Xi Jinping visited Africa on his first trip abroad as a President of China, recalled Wang, and he said during the visit the President proposed that the TAZARA spirit should be carried forward and more fruitful results should be achieved in China-Africa cooperation.
President Xi announced that China-Africa relations should be guided based on sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith.
The Director General further said that the Sino-Africa relation is now at new historical juncture as the shared destiny of the two sides is even stronger.
He said the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC) summit held last December in Johannesburg has also opened a new chapter in the Sino-Africa relation, whereby the two sides have agreed to strengthen their cooperation on 10 major areas for whose implementation China has announced $60 billion.
Wang expressed China’s commitment to the implementation of the outcomes of the latest FOCAC summit.
“China is always committed, despite uncertainties in international economic situation, China, we firmly work with African countries to implement the outcome of the summit and advance our relations,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Baso Sangqu, Chief Advisor at the AU Commission, noted that China’s cooperation with Africa has made positive and significant impact on the African continent.
The AU official stated that China and Africa are enjoying cooperation on a range of areas, which they also agreed and vowed, during the latest FOCAC summit, to strengthen it further based on mutual trust, win-win situation, cultural exchange, mutual assistance in security, and solidarity and coordination in international affairs.
In their remarks on the occasion, Susan Sikaneta, Zambian Ambassador to Ethiopia and AU, and Suma Mwakyusa, Tanzanian Diplomat, have hailed the cooperation of China with Africa, and their respective countries in particular, that has realized among others the historic project and lifeline, TAZARA.
The Zambian Ambassador noted that the TAZARA project was completed two years ahead of its schedule due to the dedication and commitment of the Chinese to the project and also to their friendship with Africa.
“We honor and pay tribute to all Chinese men and women who dedicated their lives building the TAZARA overcoming great difficulties working in bushes and mountainous landscape in dangerous, risky and unsafe conditions and faced a lot of health challenges among many other challenges and difficulties,” said the Ambassador.
“But, as we all know they overcame all these challenges and difficulties. This is largely because the Chinese are disciplined people; they are hardworking and have an excellent work culture,” she said.
“The Chinese are always focused on their job and devoted to their duty tremendously self-disciplined and socially friendly with the local people,” she added.