ADDIS ABABA — The African Union (AU) and China have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate on major infrastructure networks and industrialization process in Africa.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairwoman of the AU Commission, and Zhang Ming, Special envoy and Vice Foreign Minister of China, have signed the MoU on continental transport, high speed railway, aviation, road highways as well as on industrialization.
The signing ceremony took place on Jan 27 at the AU Headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on the sidelines of the 24th AU summit which kicked off on Jan 23 with the 29th session of the AU permanent representatives committee (PRC).
The MoU is within the framework of AU’s Agenda 2063 with a view to accelerating continental integration of Africa, according to the AU.
The two sides inked the deal based on and following the discussion between Dlamini-Zuma and Premier Li Keqiang during the Premier’s visit to the AU Headquarters last year.
“We discussed that we need to cooperate with People’s Republic of China in a number of areas at the continental level, mainly around the infrastructure sector,” recalled the chairwoman of the AU Commission.
Saying that Africans have a dream of having prosperous, united, and peaceful Africa driven by its citizens, the chairwoman hailed the MoU as an important document.
She further revealed that teams and subcommittees have already been set up to deal with detailed issues of the cooperation between the two sides on those areas.
Each sector has a team with a subcommittee to work on details of projects such as starting point, costs, and means of funding among others, according to the chairwoman.
Speaking on China-Africa relationship, she said that China and Africa have been enjoying long-standing and historic relations with ever growing cooperation.
“This would be the first continental project that Africa and China will be undertaking in all these areas,” she said. “The relationship, particularly the cooperation is taking a different height, a different level, and a different dimension.”
This is grand and very ambitious project but it is also a feasible project, said Zhang Ming.
The document signed is the result of the discussion between the Premier and Dlamini-Zuma last year, recalled Zhang Ming, adding it is a combination of development strategies and dreams of China and Africa.
It is cooperation on infrastructure and industrialization sectors to be carried out under the cooperation framework between China and AU, whereby the AU plays a coordinating role in the implementation, according to the special envoy.
He said China has rich experience and mature technologies in the areas of high speed railways, highways, aviation and in industrialization projects.