|China's Success Story and Its Relevance to Africa- Remarks by H.E. Ms. Sun Baohong, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana at IPMATIIC AFRICA 2014|
Your Excellency, Ambassador Dr. Shelley Amos,
Respected Dr. Abu Sakara,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by extending my gratitude to Dr. Amos for inviting me to attend IPMATIIC AFRICA 2014. I would also like to express my respect to you for your ambition of achieving total industrial independence of Africa and your efforts for it. In the past 18 years of my diplomatic career on African affairs, I have always been thinking about how Africa should achieve great development. There is really a lot on which we can exchange ideas.
The topic of my speech today is China’s Success Story and Its Relevance to Africa. China is viewed as the biggest miracle in terms of development in human history due to its glittering achievements. In the past over 30 years, China’s average growth rate exceeds 9 percent. Hundreds of millions of people are pulled out of poverty. The largest scale of infrastructure construction and urbanization have taken place in China. And China’s education, science and technology develop by leaps and bounds. Just 10 years ago, China ranked 6th largest economy and 4th largest exporter in the world. In 2013, China’s GDP soared up to around $9.4 trillion, ranking the 2nd largest economy in the world. Its total import-export value reached $4.16 trillion, ranking the first place globally.
Nowadays, the whole world is sensitive to even the slightest fluctuation of China’s economy. It has brought to the wide attention of the international community that China's GDP growth slipped to a 24-year low of 7.4% in the first quarter of this year. Some forces thereby predict a gloomy prospect for China’s further development. In fact, if we take into consideration of the complex and tough world economic situation, weak recovery of major developed economies and in-depth economic restructuring of China, it’s natural to conclude that China’s macro-economy still presents a good performance. The stubborn pessimism about China’s economy reflects doubts, derogation, and even hatred on the development model of China.
So what are the concepts and model of China’s development? What is the secret of China’s success story on earth? I would like to share my understandings with friends present today.
First, China puts development as the top priority of governing and rejuvenating the country. Development is the main theme of contemporary China. Leading the world in terms of national strength and culture for long in ancient times, China lagged behind and therefore suffered from bullying and invasion by foreign powers in modern history. In 1978, China’s per capita GDP only registered $127, marking China a literally poor country. Over the past 35 years of reform and opening-up, we have always been focusing wholeheartedly on our central task, that is, construction and development. We have been devoted to continuously enhancing the economic and overall strength of China, devoted to improving people’s livelihoods and devoted to promoting all-around social progress with economic development playing a leading role. We come to the realization that development remains the key to solving all the issues in China. We must abide by this overriding principle. We must not sway back and forth, relax our efforts or get sidetracked, but work arduously and earnestly. As of now, though great achievements have been scored, China is still a developing country. Its per capita GDP is outside the top 80. There’s are still lots of contradictions and problems in our economy and society. The CPC Central Committee headed by General Secretary Mr. Xi Jinping has proposed to realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of Chinese nation and “two one-hundred-year” goals. The Chinese Dream’s essence is national prosperity and rejuvenation and people’s happiness. To realize it, we should continue to put development as our top priority, promoting the overall development of economy, politics, culture, society and ecology.
Second, China adheres to the development path that conforms to its own reality. There is no precedence for China’s development. In case of industrialization, we can’t repeat colonialism as some developed countries once did at the initial stage of individualization. In early years since the founding of PRC, we copied the industrialization model of a few socialist countries featured by prioritizing heavy industry but we failed. In the period of “great-leap-forward”, we wishfully set the goal of surpassing UK and US in a dozen of years, but that only led to the serious catastrophe on our nation and people. The bitter lessons drawn from history told us that industrialization can’t be carried out in the way divorced from national conditions and reality. Today China’s industrialization has recorded great success. In more that 30 years the annual average growth rate of industrial added value exceeds 11 percent. Industry contributes around 40 percent of GDP and the economic growth. China at present is the biggest manufacturer in the world. In the course of industrialization, China constantly modifies its path according to the national conditions and development stages, drawing experiences and lessons from other countries. We make adjustment from partially prioritizing the heavy industry to balancing the development of heavy and light industries. Now we are embarking on the road of new type of industrialization.
Third, China sticks to the path of peaceful development, opening-up development and inclusive development. Suffering from the oppression of the western countries in modern history, China is fully aware of the value of peace. China regards peace as most precious and is committed to peaceful development and will never follow the footsteps of big powers which seek hegemony once they grow strong. China used to adopt a closed-door policy and remained detached from the trend of the world development in the late feudal societies, thereby missing the precious opportunities of development. Lessons we draw from bitter Modern history and success story of the past 35 years fully testify the necessity and importance of opening up in the development course of China. China's development cannot be isolated from the world's development, and vice versa. China is also the advocator and practitioner of inclusive development. China will mainly develop itself by its own efforts, but at the same time creates opportunities for the world with the adoption of a strategy of conducting mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation. In his speech at Nyerere International Convention Centre during his visit to Tanzania last year, President Xi Jinping said China is committed to connecting its development with that of Africa, aligning the interests of the Chinese people with those of the African people, and combining China's development opportunities with those of Africa. Two weeks ago Chinese Premier Mr. Li Keqiang during his Africa tour also proclaimed that China stands ready to exchange development experience and share development opportunities with African countries to promote inclusive development. China is willing to share with Africa those readily applicable technologies that China has developed without any reservation. China welcomes greater international input into Africa, and is ready to carry out cooperation schemes in Africa involving third parties. All these fully reflect the defining nature of China’s development, that is, peace, openness and inclusiveness.
Fourth, China always keeps pace with the times and constantly reforms and innovates its development patterns. The Chinese nation is always mindful of the pending hardship. No matter how well we have done, we always carry high the banner of reform. We are sober-minded that the world economy landscape changes rapidly and the new international trade and investment system is increasingly taking shape with fierce competition. Against this backdrop China is facing great pressure of economic downturn, arduous tasks in transforming and upgrading its economic structure and mounting pressure on resources and environment. New problems will arise in the process of development while addressing old ones. Therefore it is imperative for us to constantly reform and renovate our development concepts and models. We raise the outlook of scientific development, emphasizing on comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development, emphasizing on development which is mainly driven by reform and innovation and emphasizing on development that will further improve people’s livelihood. Last November the final decision of the comprehensive deepening of reform was approved by the 3rd Plenary Session of CPC Central Committee. It covers reforms of 15 areas and 60 tasks, aiming at resolving all the prominent contradictions and problems facing China’s development. The Chinese leaders say that the Chinese reform has entered a difficult phase and it is the time to bite the hard bones. But no matter how big the difficulty is, the reform should be pushed ahead. Reform is the biggest dividend of China’s development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I want to come back to today’s topic China’s Success Story, and Its Relevance to Africa. It seems by now I have only spoken half, but actually I have spoken all. There is an old Chinese saying, Peaches and plums do not have to talk, yet the world beats a path to them. I recalled when I worked in Washington DC, someone asked me a question during my presentation at a seminar, “Which do you think will prevail in Africa, Chinese Model or Washington Consensus?” I answered, “it is African Path that will definitely prevail in Africa”. China’s success story attests to the fact that there is no best and universally applicable development model in the world but the most suitable one for a certain country. Please allow me to quote again from President Xi Jinping’s speech. There is no one-size-fits-all development model in the world. The diversity of world civilizations and development models should be respected by all. China will continue to firmly support African countries in exploring development paths that suit their own national conditions and increase exchanges of governance experience with African countries. This will enable us to draw wisdom from each other's time-honored civilizations and development practice, and better promote the common development and prosperity of China and Africa.
I am greatly honored to take part in writing the above speech. And I am more greatly honored to continue taking part in the practice of seeking common development with African countries.