Dr Hage Geingob
On behalf of Namibian, I wish to express my utmost gratitude to Chinese President Xi Jinping, the government and the fraternal people of the People’s Republic of China, for the warm hospitality extended to us during our visit to the FOCAC Summit in China.
Article 22(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights reads as follows: “All peoples shall have the right to their economic, social and cultural development with due regard to their freedom and identity and in the equal enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind.”
Given this definition, it is pleasing to Africa and it’s 1.2 billion inhabitants, when President Xi Jinping, during his speech on Monday, made a profound statement, saying “No one can stand in the way or obstruct international efforts to support Africa’s development.”
We attended this year’s FOCAC Summit, to continue enhancing the unbreakable solidarity and cooperation that exists between China and Africa. We also went there to state that no one can stand in the way or obstruct sovereign African countries from travelling to China to meet with our all-weather friend, who has pledged to walk with us, through thick and thin, down the path to economic development and prosperity.
In Namibia, we have always espoused the principles of unity, liberty and justice. Unity enabled us to fight for our liberty, but we are still struggling for justice; that of economic equality and social justice.
After World War II, there was a Marshall Plan for Germany, aimed at reconstructing the country’s infrastructure and industry. To date, Africa has never received any notable compensation for the devastation caused by slavery and colonialism which resulted in the exploitation of its people and natural resources.
Where others saw Africa as a source of wealth, where others saw Africans as slaves, China saw commonalities and potential for long-lasting friendship. This established Sino-African relationship, built on a foundation of respect and mutual understanding is what informed FOCAC. The attendance of this year’s FOCAC Summit not only attests to a history of an all-weather friendship, but is also a clear message to the world, that China-Africa relations continue to grow from strength to strength.
Namibia commends the government and people of China for the “five-no” approach: no interference in African countries’ pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions; no interference in African countries’ internal affairs; no imposition of China’s will on African countries; no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; and no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa.
This is a clear-cut answer to those who perpetrate the idea that Africa is under threat from recolonisation from China.
Furthermore, we note with appreciation China’s announcement that it will implement eight major initiatives with African countries in the next three years and beyond, in the fields of industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, healthcare and people-to-people exchanges.
We stand ready, to collaborate with our Chinese brothers and sisters to develop tangible projects in these areas, which will result in the enhanced prosperity of the African and Chinese people.
The China-Africa partnership through FOCAC is our portal towards a prosperous future. It is the epitome of an all-weather friendship. A friendship characterised by people-to-people exchange. A friendship characterised by vibrant community. A friendship characterised by shared prosperity.
* Dr Hage Geingob is the President of Namibia. This is an edited speech that he delivered at the roundtable forum of the 3rd FOCAC meeting in Beijing, China, on Tuesday.
2018-09-07 10:27:09 13 days ago