BAN KI MOON HIGHLIGHTS SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION AT CHINA-AFRICA FORUM
UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe
“South-South cooperation is expanding steadily,” Ban Ki Moon said in his speech at the opening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing today. Ban called the relationship between China and the African continent one of “equality and mutual benefit”.
“Africans are determined to sustain a decade of impressive economic growth and make a decisive break from conflict and coups,” he said. “China is determined to build on its remarkable gain.”
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation aimed to stimulate dialogue and intellectual exchange between the two. Chinese investment in Africa has skyrocketed in the last decade. Africa benefits from the Chinese commitment to improve infrastructure and public services on the continent, while China secures access to a vast supply of natural resources.
The relationship between the two has been under scrutiny from Western countries. Critics condemn the impact of China’s projects on the environment and say Chinese companies should pay more attention to human rights violations in the countries where they invest.
At the forum however, both Chinese and African delegates were optimistic about the continuing of the partnership between the two continents.
“This unique structure has enabled us to work closely as strategic partners for the common good of all our people,” South African President Jacob Zuma said. He also noted that Africa is now being seen as a “major player in global affairs.”
Chinese President Hu Jintao promised African countries today that another 20 million US dollar in credit will be made available over the next three years. The China-Africa Development Fund (CAD) also committed to invest 2 billion US dollar in Sino-African cooperation projects.
Ban Ki Moon pledged the UN’s support of the Chinese African ties.
“The United Nations system is intensifying its collaboration with China on South-South cooperation in ways that benefit the countries of Africa,”He said. “Durable peace, truly sustainable development, a future of prosperity and dignity for all: this is our common agenda.”