Retired second phase president Benjamin Mkapa has underscored the need for countries to maintain global and regional peace, search for international social stability, promote economic development and accommodate cultural diversity.
He said this in his closing remarks at the second China-Africa Peoples Forum held at Suzhou Jiangsu on Wednesday.
He said the above mentioned issued have become the principal concerns and aspirations of the people and governments of both China and Africa.
He said African countries are poor and developing, so there was a need to increase the pace at which its people can lift themselves out of poverty.
“We can share knowledge, skills, technology and experience in many fields such as agriculture, SMEs, science, infrastructure construction, social service and delivery,” he noted.
According to Mkapa, China’s entry into the investment and trade market in Africa is much envied and feared by old centuries and traditional partners. He added: “We welcome China to Africa. We know that your commitment is win-win strategies to partnership. We must reject the notion of containing a rising China.”
He said there are developed countries who have decided to dissuade African countries from forging close commercial ties with China, by issuing warning against an influx of Chinese immigrants and against trade in inferior goods.
“We have categorically rejected their representations, and revile their absurd claims,” said the former President.
He said in a globalising world, nations must be free to form and cement relations in their national interest. He said China has demonstrated its high friendship in good times and in times of natural disasters.
Mkapa said it is important to make China-Africa friendship and cooperation a cornerstone of South development insisting that apart from governments the move should also involve the people’s voices represented by NGOs and professional associations is both timely and imperative.
He said the NGOs involvement will in turn enable the existing friendship to be rational and people centered. He said in Africa, NGOs keep mushrooming every other day, so there is need to pause and reflect to what extent they are home grown and its commitment to foster national goals.