SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao vowed to further China-Africa economic and trade cooperation during the 3rd Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs held on Saturday afternoon in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
In his speech, Wen highly valued the fruitful achievements China and Africa have made through bilateral economic and trade cooperation. He said past practices had proved that the traditional friendship between China and Africa was "unbreakable," and their economic and trade cooperation was based on equality and mutual benefit.
He said that the both sides were in the critical stage of development. Common interests are expanding and mutual needs are increasing between the two sides, he added.
"Our economic and trade cooperation has vast potentials and bright prospects. We should actively increase and broaden our economic and trade ties and raise them to a higher level in accordance with the principles of equality and mutual benefit, emphasis on practical results, diversity in form and seeking common development," he said.
He also made several proposals to further enhance China-Africa business cooperation.
First, the two sides should make efforts to further enlarge scales of bilateral trade. For the Chinese side, he said the country was ready to provide greater market access to African products, and gradually extend zero-tariff treatment to the vast majority of products from the least developed African countries.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government will continue to encourage Chinese companies to import African products and strengthen bilateral cooperation in finance, telecommunication and tourism among other sectors.
Secondly, the two sides should enhance investment cooperation. "China will continue to encourage capable and reputable Chinese companies to invest and start businesses in Africa."
The premier said China would actively promote the construction of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation zone and strengthen cooperation in energy exploration. China will also provide more interest-free, or concessional and commercial loans to African countries and guide Chinese enterprises to shoulder more social responsibilities.
Thirdly, efficiency in using assistance from China should be improved. China will gradually increase assistance to Africa according to its ability. At the same time, it will pay greater attention to the optimization of the assistance projects structure, the welfare of the African people and the technology transfer to the African countries.
And last, exchanges and cooperat on between enterprises from both sides should be boosted. Wen said the business cooperation should be based on market principles and conducted primarily by enterprises under governmental guidance. China will build more useful platforms for exchanges and cooperation among the enterprises from China and the African countries.
Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazef, also attending the conference, said China served as Africa's important cooperative partner. African countries appreciate China's long-term support and help, and are willing to deepen their friendship and cooperation with China.
In the circumstances of combating the global economic crisis, the cooperation between enterprises of both sides is especially important, which not only injected new energy into their respective economic development but also laid a more solid foundation for the long-term development of China-Africa relations, he said.
The 3rd Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs is part of a series of meetings held prior to the fourth ministerial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which runs from Nov. 8 to 9.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks during the 3rd Conference of Chinese, African Entrepreneurs in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Nov. 7, 2009. (Xinhua/Li Tao)
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- The 3rd Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs was held on Saturday afternoon in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Full story
Special report: Wen visits Egypt, attends China-Africa forum