Southern African News Features                                           
Declaration of Sharm El Sheikh of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

2009/11/12


We, the ministers of foreign affairs and ministers in charge of economic cooperation of the People’s Republic of China and 49 African countries, met in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from 8 to 9 November 2009 for the 4th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

We applaud the convening of the 4th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC, under the leadership of H.E. Hosny Mobarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt and H.E. Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, and in the presence of Their Excellences the Heads of State and Government and leaders of 17 African countries.

For the purpose of "deepening the new type of China-Africa Strategic Partnership for sustainable development", we, on the occasion of the third anniversary of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, reviewed with satisfaction the implementation of the follow-up actions to the Beijing Summit of the Forum, and agreed that the set goals had been accomplished. We also discussed the ways and means to further deepen China-Africa relations under new circumstances.

We are pleased to note that, thanks to joint efforts of the two sides, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has grown in strength and showed great vigor and vitality over the past nine years since its inception. It is particularly noteworthy that a new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges was established at the successful Beijing Summit of the Forum, making it a milestone in the history of China-Africa relations.

We solemnly reiterate the spirit of the Beijing Summit of the Forum and believed that the principles it set out will provide long-term guidance for the growth of China-Africa relations and steer the relations forward.

We hold that the international situation, while on the whole being stable, is complex and volatile. The world is still gripped by the economic recession triggered by the global financial crisis. Global concerns, represented by food security, the energy issue, climate change, and the need to prevent and control major diseases, are getting more acute, and destabilizing factors and uncertainties are notably on the rise in the international political, economic and other fields. Climate change in particular is having a devastating effect on many countries and regions across the world and urgently requires solutions.

The effect of the financial crisis on developing countries is still spreading. In particular, the grave consequences of the crisis on the African economies, fragile as they are, may be further felt, making it more difficult for African countries to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals.

We believe that the international community particularly developed countries should pay special attention to the negative impact of the crisis on developing countries, particularly African countries, and further efforts should be made in order to mitigate those effects. Therefore, effective measures should be implemented by the developed countries, in order to fulfill their commitments on aid, debt relief, promoting and increasing investment, opening up and accessing market, and assisting developing countries to promote economic growth in order to achieve sustainable development. In this context, we call on the developed countries to further assist African countries to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. In particular, we recommend that specific actions be taken in favour of island, least developed and landlocked states.

We call on all countries to, as an effective response to the current challenges and threats, act under the principles of multilateralism and democracy in international relations to increase communications, respect and support each other, make the international order more just and equitable, and promote harmonious development and common prosperity of the world.

We reaffirm the need for strengthening the role of the United Nations through inter alia, its reform and, as a matter of priority, increasing the representation of African countries in the Security Council and other UN agencies.

We also express our appreciation for the Chinese support to the African just and fair causes in the international fora, particularly in the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations.

We call for reform of the international financial system to ensure its development in a fair, just, inclusive and orderly manner, and for increasing the representation and voice of developing countries therein.

We oppose protectionism in all its forms, and stand to uphold an open and free trade and investment environment.

We will continue to advance the Doha Round of trade negotiations on the basis of observing the negotiation mandate, sticking to the Development Agenda and respecting the existing outcomes, and call for a successful conclusion of these negotiations in 2010 with the attainment of the development goals and the reflection of the interests and concerns of developing countries, including African countries, in the outcome.

We underline in particular African countries’ urgent need for stronger capacity to adapt to climate change and support their legitimate right in combating climate change.

The African countries are greatly encouraged by China’s sustained, steady and fast economic growth, appreciate the significant actions taken by China in response to the financial crisis, and believe that these actions have not only contributed to stabilizing the world economy but also helped the African economy towards achieving recovery and growth.

China applauds Africa’s endeavor and achievement in strengthening governance, resolving regional conflicts, advancing poverty relief and development, and speeding up the integration process.

China is concerned with the difficulties Africa has encountered as a result of the global financial crisis and believes that the world should not overlook the issue of development while tackling the crisis.

China reaffirms its support for African countries in their efforts to strengthen themselves through unity and independently resolve Africa’s problems. It appreciates the positive role of African countries, the African Union (AU) and other regional and sub-regional organizations in this regard, and supports African countries in the process of African regional integration and development being conducted under the African Union, the "New Partnership for Africa’s Development" (NEPAD), and the Regional Economic Communities.

The two sides hold that the decades-long cooperation between China and Africa has produced fruitful results and delivered considerable benefits to their peoples. It is a good example of South-South cooperation. To further deepen the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership of political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges under the new circumstances, we will:

-Make the most of their consultation mechanisms at various levels and through multiple channels to strengthen strategic dialogue, expand common ground and deepen cooperation in multilateral institutions, so as to uphold the common interests of developing countries.

-Increase high-level visits, enhance political mutual trust and strengthen communication and coordination between China and Africa on major issues.

-Maintain unity and mutual support to jointly tackle the challenges brought by the global financial crisis and make sure that Africa’s endeavor to achieve the Millennium Development Goals will not be reversed.

-Expand mutual benefit and upgrade the level of China-Africa practical cooperation. The two sides will encourage and promote two-way trade and investment, diversify ways of cooperation, and strengthen collaborative efforts in such priority areas as poverty relief, environmental protection, human resources training and capacity-building, and information and communications technologies. In particular, specific attention is needed on the critical sectors of infrastructure, agriculture and food security.

-Broaden exchanges and deepen people-to-people and cultural cooperation. Efforts will be made to promote exchanges in culture, education, science and technology, medical and health care, sports, tourism and other fields, and forge closer ties among the young people, women, non-governmental organizations, media organizations and academic institutions of the two sides with a view to enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and African peoples.

-Strengthen coordination and work together to enhance the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and promote its sustainable development. In light of the needs of the two sides and changed circumstances, China and Africa will steadily improve the mechanisms of the Forum, enrich its contents, identify reasonable targets, make the best use of the leading role of the Forum in driving forward China-Africa relations, and ensure successful implementation of the follow-up actions to the Forum.

-China pledges to work within its ability to further scale up aid to Africa, cut and cancel debt owed by African countries, expand investment in Africa, further open China’s market and strengthen practical cooperation with Africa.

-African countries welcome China’s commitments and expressed readiness to enhance coordination and experience-sharing with China and work to ease the adverse impact of the financial crisis on the African economy.

-The African countries reiterate their commitment to the one China policy and support for China’s peaceful reunification.

We have, in the spirit of this Declaration, formulated and adopted the Sharm El Sheikh Action Plan of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (2010-2012).

We express our congratulations on the fruitful results and great success of the Conference

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