BEIJING, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday warmly congratulated the African countries and people on the opening of the 35th African Union (AU) Summit.
In his congratulatory message to the AU Summit, Xi pointed out that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the AU's founding, and that over the past 20 years, the AU has stayed committed to seeking strength through unity, actively explored a development path suited to Africa, facilitated important progress in regional integration and coordinated a concerted response from African countries to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Such efforts have proven effective in maintaining peace, stability and development in Africa, and have won Africa growing influence and stature in the world, Xi said.
The year of 2021 witnessed robust growth in China-Africa relations, Xi stressed.
Noting that the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was successfully held in November last year, Xi said that he announced during the conference nine programs for cooperation with Africa in the next three years, and that he, together with African leaders, expressed their unanimous support for building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.
Under new circumstances, Xi said, China stands ready to work with the African side to actively implement the outcomes of the FOCAC conference, further synergize the Belt and Road cooperation and the Global Development Initiative with the AU's Agenda 2063 and the construction of the African Continental Free Trade Area, in a bid to steer China-Africa cooperation toward higher-quality and wider-ranging development, and to write a new chapter in China-Africa friendship.