Xi greets AU leaders on summit
Two-day gathering in Ethiopia will cover reform, security and peace
BEIJING — President Xi Jinping on Monday sent a message of congratulations to African countries and peoples on the convening of the 29 th African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
In the message, Xi said the AU is a banner for unity and self-strengthening of Africa. The AU has actively promoted African integration and has prompted African countries to speak with one voice on major global and regional issues, making remarkable achievements, he added.
The summit is being held under the theme “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investment in the Youth”, African heads of state will deliberate on key issues including AU financing and institutional reform as well as peace and security on the continent in their two-day gathering.
The summit is the first being held since the AU has elected a new commission, with former Chadian foreign minister Moussa Faki Mahamat as its new chairman.
Xi voiced sincere hope that the AU will lead African countries to keep making greater achievements in the cause of pursuing peace and development.
Important early harvests have been reaped in implementing the outcomes of the Johannesburg summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which has contributed to the economic and social development of Africa, Xi said.
He said the Beijing will continue to adhere to the principles of its African policy — sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith, will uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests, and will actively promote alignment of the Ten Major China-Africa Cooperation Programs and the Belt and Road Initiative with the AU’s Agenda 2063, to promote in-depth development of China-Africa comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in the greater interest of Chinese and African peoples.
Proposed by Xi in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa on and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes. It comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
On the summit, the AU hailed China’s investment in Africa’s infrastructure and expressed its keen interest in seeing strengthened ties.
Abou-Zeid Amani, AU commissioner for infrastructure and energy, acknowledged China’s huge investment in infrastructure projects, information and communication technology and energy.
“China is a big player and big partner in many sectors, such as infrastructure and ICT. China is definitely a big partner for Africa’s major integration projects. We welcome the role of China,” Amani said.
“The AU looks forward to a more enhanced and substantial cooperation with China,” she said.