IN BEIJING, CHINA
China’s President Xi Jinping has underlined the need to strengthen and advance Asia-African relations to continue making positive and significant impact in the two continents.
Mr Jinping said Africa and Asia are enjoying cooperation in many areas which should be strengthened based on mutual trust, solidarity and coordination in international affairs.
The president’s message was delivered by Mr Qin Yizhi, who is the First Secretary of the Secretariat Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China during the opening ceremony for the First Asian-African Youth Festival on Thursday.
More than 500 representatives from Kenya, Nigeria, Eritrea, South Africa, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Ethiopia and others from different Asian countries are in Beijing city for the festival.
China Vice-President Li Yuanchao attended the opening ceremony and officially launched the festival at the Great Hall of the People.
Mr Yuanchao said major economic cooperation arrangements with Africa will play a crucial role towards boosting economic integration on the continent.
According to the vice-president, the youths are a pivotal force for promoting common development.
“Asia and Africa share similar objectives and goals in seeking national development. Therefore, we have to promote innovation and entrepreneurship as well as increase people-to-people exchange to strengthen cooperation between the two continents,” Mr Yuanchao said adding that youth should strive to be “makers”.
He added: “The Asia-Africa relationship should be based on political equality and mutual support and respect.”
Asia’s presence, especially that of China, in Africa, is growing fast as the country engages in trade and investment as well as infrastructural projects with the continent.
Mr Dimande Edmundo, an MP from Mozambique who spoke on behalf of the African delegation said cooperation initiatives between Africa and Asia promise a boost in improving investment prospects.
“We have youth who need to be capacitated to realize faster and inclusive development that defines the transformation of Africa,” he said.
The Asian Africa Youth Festival is conducted by the central Committee of the Communist Youth League and All China Youths Federation.
It aims to promote the Bandung Spirit of solidarity, friendship and cooperation which also strives to promote collaboration between Asia and African Youths.
During the Asian-African summit in April 2015, President Jinping said China will host the festival in the next five years.