Updated: 2012-01-31 08:01
When the glistening high-rise building that is the new headquarters of the African Union (AU) was inaugurated on Saturday in the Ethiopian capital, it became a symbol of the ever-deepening Sino-African friendship. Like other numerous China-funded infrastructure projects in Africa, the tallest building in Addis Ababa is testament to Sino-African cooperation that is gaining momentum in all dimensions.
In his speech delivered at the 18th summit of the AU on Sunday, China's top political adviser Jia Qinglin passed on cordial greetings and best wishes from President Hu Jintao and all the 1.3 billion Chinese to our African friends. Jia's visit to the continent once again highlights the importance attached by the Chinese government to advancing the China-Africa strategic partnership, which is based on political equality, mutual trust, economic cooperation and cultural exchanges.
Sino-African relations have grown vigorously and reaped progress in all areas since 2000, when both sides decided to establish the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to further their bilateral cooperation.
The bilateral trade volume was more than $150 billion last year, and China has honored all its commitments to African countries in such areas as debt cancellation, tariff exemption, provision of concessional loans and the scheme of special loans designed to help small and medium-sized African enterprises. During his trip to Ethiopia this time, Jia announced that China will provide 600 million yuan ($95.2 million) free assistance to the AU in the next three years to fund bilateral cooperation projects.
China not only supports African countries' resolve in promoting economic and social development and advancing the integration process, it also contributes to strengthening Africa's own capacity for development.
Both China and Africa have played an increasingly important role in international and regional affairs. At a time when the world economic recovery is facing mounting uncertainties, it is a strategic move as well as a recalibration for China and Africa to further consolidate unity and strengthen cooperation.