|Chinese Ambassador H.E. Long Zhou: “Common Development for a Shared Future——A Fruitful Journey to China”|
On 13 and 14 July 2023, an article titled “Common Development for a Shared Future——A Fruitful Journey to China” by H.E. Long Zhou, the Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, was published on Nation and Daily Times. Full text of the article is as follows:
In today's world, multiple challenges and crises are intertwined, and the development gap is widening. The world has just walked from the shadow of Covid-19 pandemic, and restoring growth at an early date is a first-order priority. At this critical moment, the 3rd China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo was held under the theme of “Common Development for a Shared Future”, providing an important opportunity for the rapid development of countries around the world, especially developing countries in the post-pandemic era. H.E. Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi, led a delegation to China to attend the Expo, which effectively promoted the development of China-Malawi relations and mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields. It is a fruitful journey.
It is a journey of deepening concept mutual learning. Chinese Vice-President Mr. Han Zheng met with President Chakwera and had productive talks on strengthening relations and practical cooperation between the two countries. President Chakwera attended the opening ceremony of the Expo as guest of honor and delivered a keynote address. During his meeting with President Chakwera, Vice President Han Zheng said that China and Malawi are development partners supporting and trusting each other. Under the joint commitment and guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Chakwera, China-Malawi relations have witnessed sustained, steady and sound development, with fruitful results in cooperation. China supports Malawi in independently exploring a development path suited to its national conditions, and stands ready to work with Malawi to continuously consolidate political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation, and jointly elevate the friendly and cooperative relations between China and Malawi to a higher level. Malawian enterprises are welcome to actively use the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo and other platforms to deepen economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. President Chakwera expressed his gratitude for China's strong support for Malawi's efforts to develop its economy and improve people's well-being. Malawi attaches great importance to developing its relationship with China, firmly pursues the one-China policy, and stands ready to work with China to conduct exchanges on state governance and strengthen practical cooperation in various fields.
It is a journey of deepening cooperation. The Expo is an important platform for China and Africa to enhance economic and trade cooperation and policy exchange. It facilitates the sharing of development opportunities and mutual beneficial cooperation. “China offers a hand up to us, not a handout.” During this visit, China and Malawi signed a number of cooperation agreements or MoU in fields like ICT, agriculture, infrastructure construction and education. The Malawian delegation also had in-depth exchanges with renowned Chinese enterprises, which explored new steps of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. The various cooperation agreements signed between the two sides will inject strong impetus to the development of Malawi’s key areas such as trade, agriculture, education, health, mining and ICT.
It is a journey of promoting communication. Even mountains and seas cannot distance people with common aspirations. The China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo is a vivid epitome of China-Malawi friendship, during which the two sides exchanged in-depth views on various aspects such as politics, economy, people's livelihood and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, creating conditions for enhancing comprehensive cooperation. President Chakwera met with leaders of China's Hunan Province and Shenzhen City on strengthening cooperation between Cities of Malawi and China. The President was interviewed by China Central Television to introduce Malawi to China in detail, effectively enhancing mutual understanding between the two peoples. The Consulate General of Malawi in Changsha opened during the Expo is a milestone as the first consular office of an African country in Hunan Province. It will be another important driver to fuel the development of relations and people-to-people contacts between the two countries. H.E. Madame Monica Chakwera, First Lady of the Republic of Malawi, attended the China-Africa Women’s High-level Forum and, in her speech, applauded the important platform set up by the Expo for exchanges between the two countries in the cause of women and children, and expressed her willingness to strengthen cooperation with China and contribute to the building of a China-Africa community in the new era. In addition, Malawi also signed an agreement with Hunan University and the latter will provide agricultural scholarships to Malawian students to cultivate more talents for the future development of agriculture of Malawi.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. China and Malawi signed a MOU on the cooperation under the Belt and Road last year. Over the past ten years, China-Africa cooperation has achieved fruitful outcomes. China has remained Africa's top trading partner for 14 consecutive years, with trade between the two sides reaching US$282 billion in 2022, up 11.1 percent year-on-year. From January to April this year, China's new direct investment in Africa reached US$1.38 billion, a year-on-year increase of 24%, fully demonstrating the resilience of China-Africa cooperation. The China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo is a concrete manifestation and an important platform to provide new development opportunities for Africa with Chinese Modernization and high-quality development, and is a pragmatic action to promote China-Africa cooperation.
Brotherhood is more valuable than all the wealth in the world. As good brothers and good partners, China is willing to take this fruitful journey as new starting point to share its experience of Chinese Modernization and make efforts to carry out strategic alignment under the framework of the BRI, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and the Global Development Initiative with the Malawi Vision 2063. Efforts will also be made to turn the results of the Expo into a strong impetus for the economic and social development of Malawi, helping the country to achieve long-term development and upgrading bilateral relations and practical cooperation to a new level.